Public speaking can be difficult for many of us, especially if you haven’t had much experience. Here are 10 quotes to keep in mind when preparing and presenting, and some tips to improve that skill that is essential for any budding lawyer.
1. “It takes one hour of preparation for each minute of presentation time.” – Wayne Burgraff
Preparation is one of the most important things you can do before giving a speech. Knowing your content well will ensure your speech can flow better; especially if you get taken off track by a question from the audience, or lose your place in your notes.
Making bullet-pointed notes to guide your speech is helpful if you often find your mind blank whenever you first get on your feet. Don’t rely on making up your speech on the spot: this is a recipe for disaster.
2. “All the great speakers were bad speakers at first.” – Ralph Waldo Emmerson
Once all your preparation for your speech is done and dusted, get to practising! Practise presenting to your family, friends, your dog or even just in front of yourself!
Try videoing yourself to see how you perform and how you can improve you body language or your speaking techniques. The better practised you are, the easier it will be to re-create on the day.
3. “The most precious things in speeches are the pauses.” – Sir Ralph Richardson
Pauses are key when it comes to public speaking. A few seconds pause may feel like eternity whenever you’re presenting, but they can dramatically improve your public speaking.
Pauses are especially important whenever the audience is taking notes. This gives them time to finish writing before returning to listening to what you have to say. If not, they will miss what you are saying next and not fully engage with the content.
A good pause can aid you in your bid to make an impact – if you say something important or thought-provoking, a well-placed pause after it will increase its power.
4. “There are three things to aim at in public speaking: first, to get into your subject, then to get your subject into yourself, and lastly, to get your subject into the heart of your audience.” – Alexander Gregg
The audience can often drift off during a speech if the content isn’t engaging. You’ve spent your time working on this presentation, you’ll want what you say to be taken in by the audience.
Try to avoid excessive statistics, long sentences and very difficult concepts to grasp. Instead, try adding an anecdote or a real-life example to what you’re saying to allow the audience to better comprehend the information.
Also, try cracking a joke if the situation allows, this will make the speech more interesting!
5. “The success of your presentation will be judged not by the knowledge you send but by what the listener receives.” – Lilly Walters
Nerves kick in whenever it is your chance to talk, this often makes your pace faster than usual. This can make it extremely difficult for the audience to understand what you are saying, they may even miss out completely on what you are talking about. If the audience don’t hear what you are saying, it doesn’t matter if you have the best points, the listener will never know.
It is often hard to judge your own pace whenever you are giving your speech but as a general rule, if you think you’re talking slow, talk slower.
6. “Simple and to the point is always the best way to get your point across.”– Guy Kawasaki
Your knowledge of your topic is often greater than your audience’s. Depending on your audience and the topic you are talking about, they audience may not have any understanding of the topic at all. Simplifying your speech will help here. This is as simple as exchanging difficult terminology for simpler words, or expanding on tough to grasp concepts.
7. “The first time you say something, it’s heard; the second time, it’s recognised; the third time, it’s learned.” – John Maxwell
If you have an extremely important point that you want the audience to retain, don’t be afraid to repeat yourself. The first time you say it, the audience may not realise the importance, but by repeating yourself twice or thrice, it will convey to the audience that this is a point they need to pick up on.
8. “We shall never know all the good that a simple smile can do.” – Mother Teresa
Smile, smile, smile. If you keep on smiling while presenting, it will help improve your connection with the listeners.
Having emotion showing on your face will give your speech a more personal, relatable touch, and you will look less robotic and more human. It will also help you appear more confident in yourself.
9. “The first 30 seconds and the last 30 seconds have the most impact in a presentation.” – Patricia Fripp
Make your first points and last points stand out. When you first begin, this is your chance to grab the listeners attention. Start with a quote, a statistic or an anecdote that relates to your topic. The more interesting your beginning is, the more the audience will be tuned in to the rest of your speech.
Begin strong, but finish stronger. You want your speech to memorable, make your concluding sentence something that will resonate with the listener.
10. “Don’t be embarrassed by your failures. Learn from them and start again.” – Richard Branson
Just remember, if your speech didn’t go as well as you expected, don’t let it put you off. Every failure is a chance to learn from your mistakes and improve the next time. Keep on practising and you’ll soon be an expert in public speaking too!
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