Online Public Speaking

Training & Practice

How to Present to an Audience

First, approach the front of the room or the podium with a sense of purpose and strong body language. Hold your head up high and keep your chest out. Acting like you feel confident will immediately send the right message to the audience, AND to you, that you can do this.  

Next, take a deep breath before you begin and continue to breathe deeply and as normally as possible. Many inexperienced speakers tend to breathe shallowly and don’t breathe as often while they are speaking as they usually would, which can cause unpleasant physical sensations.

Next, don’t rush. Many speakers use the extra energy they feel to speak faster than they normally would, which may sound less appealing to the audience and make a presentation too short. 

Next, avoid use of “non words” such as “um” as much as possible! Non words imply to the audience that the speaker isn’t sure what to say. Also be aware of overusing words like “like”! 

Next, continue to be aware of your body language during the presentation. Keep the good posture going, but also try to stay physically loose, especially if you feel a little tense. Don’t hesitate to move about the room or to gesture with your hands in an appropriate manner to burn off some extra energy.

Next, bring at least some notes on your presentation with you, or even your entire speech, to make sure you don’t forget what you wanted to say, especially if you are new to public speaking. However, try NOT TO READ your entire speech. This can be very boring to an audience. If you need to follow your speech on paper, make sure to look at your audience as often as possible.

Lastly, you should try and make eye contact with members of the audience during your presentation. It can help engage them and make it more enjoyable for you, and it feels good to the audience when the speaker acknowledges them with eye contact as opposed to looking down at a paper the whole time as if the audience isn’t there!