Most people experience some type of nervous reaction when they get in front of people to deliver a speech, but that reaction does not have to distract or detract from the performance or the speech. Calm determination and enthusiasm promotes control. Proper preparation, writing, practicing and delivery are all elements that help to make public speaking a success.

Know the Topic and Make it Personal

When it comes to preparation, knowing the topic is critical. When you choose your own topic, you can select a theme that is personal and very familiar. However even if the subject is assigned, you can do research and talk with field experts. For instance if the topic is “Tax Increases for the Lower Income Class,” you can break up the idea into research subtopics like tax laws, living with a low income and the class divisions in our modern society. As you study, you can imagine yourself in the place of someone with a low income who faces higher taxation.

Include Stories and Bring Visual Aids

Stories, illustrations and visual aids are excellent for driving home specific points and keeping the attention of the audience. If multimedia equipment is available, a Power Point presentation is often effective. Of course just bringing one object that is large enough to be seen by the crowd is useful, like a blown-up photo of an empty wallet or two or three balls of different sizes to represent income levels and tax percentages.

The Beginning, Middle and End

If you are writing or you have a writer, be sure that your speech has a definite beginning, middle and end. While a good story grabs their attention if the audience cannot clearly see its connection to the topic they turn off the speech right away. The main body of the talk should build your theme, and the ending can include another anecdote or story that ties all the points together and restates the beginning thought.

End with a Call to Action

Speeches should end with some type of call to action. When it comes to the topic of taxing those with low incomes, the call may be to creating personal budgets or it may be to inspire the audience to vote against further taxation. Something that makes the audience responsible for what they do with the theme of the speech is vital to the final success of the speaking engagement.

Visualize the Delivery

Practicing the talk is very important. You should visualize your delivery, imagining the audience and your ability to get your point across with confidence. This is not self-aggrandizement; the exercise merely helps you visualize successful technique and delivery. Practicing helps make the words roll out with ease and your manner become relaxed and normal. The visualization assists you to concentrate on your delivery style.

Warming up the Vocal Cords

Your voice is a fragile instrument that needs warming before performance just as musical instruments warm up before a concert. Warm lemon water is a home remedy used by many public speakers and professional singers. Drinking water for hydration is extremely important for mental alertness and calm.

Eye Contact, Focus and Enthusiasm

During delivery, make eye contact with the audience if you can. Utilize the main points of the talk to look into faces and speak to individuals. However, do not let your mind become distracted from your speech with what may or may not be happening in the audience. Above all, you must believe in your subject and find enthusiasm for your theme and main points because your inspiration is what will inspire the listeners.