Golden rules of public speaking

Ace a speech

Win over the crowd and keep your nerve with these golden rules of public speaking

Addressing a roomful of people can be one daunting task. Here are five tips to make you sound like the perfect orator.

1. Find form Make your notes big enough to read at a glance and try listing three things in a row. Write the words in capitals and different colours so you’re given an instant memory trigger. Don’t be afraid of repeating your key point several times—people will remember those words.

2. Get preppy

Think you’re slick? “Rehearse it again—at least six times, especially memorable quotes and people references,” says Chhaya Momaya, life coach and grooming consultant. Reality can do with a polish. Tape yourself as you perform it to a friend, then play it back to see the problems areas.

3. Air time “As a rule, keep anecdotes to no more than a minute—if it takes any longer than that you’ll lose your audience’s attention” says Momaya. Pause for a second at the end of each point you make. This is the single best way to eliminate umming and aahing as it lends a real sense of control: everyone will be hanging on your next word.

4. Don’t crack up
To avoid your voice breaking into a falsetto, try humming for afull minute before you start your speech. You hum at your natural speaking pitch, so it brings your voice to a natural level.

5. Spit it out

Eat an apple before you speak. Nerves can dry your mouth, but the acidity in a tart fruit stimulates saliva production, keeping your talk crisp and fluid. Conversely, skip the coffee (caffeine dries out your mouth fast and will make you jittery) and stay away from milk, dahi and ice-cream— dairy produqts turn saliva as thick as soup.

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