Public Speaking 101 


Competency: Provide a concrete example of how knowledge can influence a leader and the course of history


Linked Core Abilities:

  • Take responsibility for your actions and choices

  • Do your share as a good citizen in your school, community, country and the world.


A better world is possible when people acquire sufficient background for their role as citizens of a democracy.

Tips for great presentations

  1. Light on speakers to connect with the audience.
  2. Look at your audience throughout the presentation (e.g., 5 second individual eye contact).
  3. Keep objects away from mouth (e.g., use a wireless microphone).
  4. Be animated (e.g., stimulating ideas, fluid movement, costume, props, visual aid, powerful music/video, etc.).
  5. Be passionate about your purpose (including testimony from experts can help).
  6. Know your material and anticipate answers to questions.
  7. Modify voice rate and pitch thoughtfully and naturally.
  8. Practice until you are calm and confident.
  9. Be spontaneous and do not read notes, slides, or cards.
  10. Be natural, sincere, and you will be more convincing.
  11. Almost every presentation provides an opportunity for you to tell something about yourself. Applying personal "Who," What, "When," "Why," and "Where" information makes your presentation unique and personal. When you end your presentation, be sure to leave the audience with something to think about and if applicable, a call to action.

Checklist for preparing a presenation

  1. Select your topic and central theme.
  2. Learn about your audience.
  3. Collect data about the subject.
  4. Organize your presentation. Powerpoint is an excellent tool to develop a presentation but do not use Powerpoint during your presentation except to show pictures. Structure your presentation with transitions (e.g., first, second, and finally).
  5. Design your introduction. General opening techniques:

> State importance of topic.

> Startle the audience or arouse suspense/curiosity.

> Tell a story about a related experience.

> Ask a rhetorical question.

> Begin with a quotation.

> Consider using a touch of humor in your speech.


A solid opening is to start with a personal story that relates to the topic or state a startling fact.  You can also refer to a recent well known event or newsworthy story. A third option is to pay a sincere compliment to the audience's organization, their profession, etc.


Other tips:


- Make use of music.

- Involve your audience to participate with an activity

- Write a strong conclusion.

- Print and review your presentation.

- Practice.

- Have a gift or prize ready to increase energy if needed.


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