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David Windle

Opposite Leg Ltd


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Powerful Public Speaking Tips


Powerful Public Speaking

Tips for success from Opposite Leg.

For many of us public speaking is a terrifying task.  What could be more exposing than standing up in front of a group or colleagues, friends or strangers and being expected to entertain and engage with nothing but your words, wit and charisma?  It’s enough to make even the most confident quiver with fear. However, confidence is no guarantee of public speaking success; you need to know how to handle the crowd and show a little bit of vulnerability.

Here are a few handy hints from Opposite Leg to help you on your way to success in public speaking:

1.    Fail to prepare, prepare to fail

It’s a cliché because it is true. Some people seem brilliant at improvisation and spur of the moment wit. But these people are usually very experienced and have years of preparation on their side.  Preparation involves writing your speech, of course, but then you need to rehearse it. Stand up and speak it out loud to an imaginary crowd. Get the rhythm and feel of it into your bones.

2.    Tell a cracking tale

Delivering data or information is deathly dull and will send your crowd to sleep within minutes. Not good! No matter what you are speaking about, find a story to tell. Whether it is a personal anecdote or an invented allegory, you need to convey the human impact of your subject. After all, what people find fascinating is people.

3.    Pay attention

In performance theory, there are 3 circles of attention. Circle 1 is tiny, it is just you. Circle 2 is bigger, it is you and those in your immediate space. Circle 3 is bigger still, it contains you and everyone in the theatre. Begin rehearsing your speech in Circle 1, internalise it. Feel its tempo. Then gradually work out from there until your circle of attention is big enough for your entire audience.

4.       Don’t be tiny

Public speaking demands that you step outside of your normal patterns, you need to magnify yourself a little bit. After all, you want to be heard, and to be heard it helps to be seen. So use gesture. Rehearse by magnifying your gestures to a huge scale, as if you are performing to a man a mile away. Then try your speech in silence, with nothing but gesture to communicate with. See what this gives you. It’ll shake you out of your tiny self.

5.     Sing a sweet song

Just as your gesture mustn’t be flat, neither must your voice. You need to release all of the tones and power in your voice. A great way to open up your voice is to sing. Sing as if you were an opera star. Only in rehearsal though! Then when you come to make your speech you will find it is free and open, and your voice will soar.

Visit for more hints and tips.

For further tips follow Opposite Leg on Twitter

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David Windle


Read more from David Windle

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