Public Speaking Tips

Speaking in public is a common fear, but it’s one that TAs need to confront to be successful. Fortunately, public speaking is a skill that can be learned and which becomes easier with practice. Below are some tips to help you feel more comfortable, and be more effective, as a speaker.

Before the Presentation:

  • Familiarize yourself with your notes.

  • Practice as frequently as you can—in front of a mirror, friends, pets, etc.

  • Familiarize yourself with the room in which you’ll be speaking.
    • Will you have room to move around?

    • How much will you need to project your voice?

  • Choose an outfit that makes you feel confident and professional.

  • Bring a bottle of water.

During the Presentation:

  • Don’t read from your notes—use them as a guide;
    • You’re not reading to the class, you’re speaking with them.

  • Concentrate on the audience and your presentation, not your nerves.

  • Take a sip of water if you need a second to regain your calm.

General Tips on Delivery:

  • Make frequent eye contact with your audience.

  • Vary the pitch and tone of your voice—don’t speak in a monotone.v

  • Speak loud enough for everyone to hear you.

  • Vary your volume to emphasize a point.

  • Enunciate clearly.

  • Speak slowly.

  • Avoid repetition of filler words such as “okay,” “like,” or “um.”

  • Allow your enthusiasm for the material to come through!

Accept that you will make mistakes. Remember, public speaking gets easier with experience.