Friday 12 October 2012


Public speaking is something that most of us cannot will not do. We're just too afraid to go up the stage and do a seemingly simple yet heart-pounding task... talk. Not even all the big names start as confident public speakers. Most of them will agree that it takes practice. We're never perfect, but we can be better. One step at a time.

Last August, I was invited to talk with the group of Junior Philippine Institute of Accountants (JPIA). This was held at Philippine Christian University (PCU) Taft. Today, I'll share with you some tips on how to speak in public and step down from the stage alive and still breathing... normally. ☺

Mind your Exterior:
♣  Power Dress. Know your audience. If your topic revolves around being successful, then by all means dress the part. Talk has one thing in common: it aims to inspire. And seeing you well groomed and properly dressed is part of that inspiration.

♣ Wear comfortable shoes. This is not the perfect time to try that new shoes. You have a speech and all other things to be concerned about - so wear something usual. I suggest though that if you can, wear heels. Not sky high heels but studies show that wearing a high heeled shoes displays a "powerful" aura.

♣ Remember that the audience will look at you so don't wear a sheer top. You want them to listen to what you are saying and not to look somewhere else. Seems to be an obvious reminder but it's very practical.

On Public Speaking:
♣ When preparing for your speech, picture yourself as an audience too. You wouldn't like the message to be too long nor too short. Double check your grammar and ask someone to listen to you and give you some feedback (i.e. it's too wordy, your pacing is too slow...)

Voice modulation. To stress a point, you may raise your intonation a bit. Or pause. Make sure that the important points you wish to convey are being grasped by your audience. Students have shorter attention span so I suggest that you go by quotes.

Utilize technology. Powerpoint is a very handy tool in public speaking. Humans are visual mammals so adding some pictures and displaying your salient points via PPT will definitely help.

Connect with your audience. Best part of speaking for me is the Q&A portion. It keeps me grounded plus there's a two-way traffic between my thoughts and the audience's.

Before walking up the stage:

♣ Most terrifying part of public speaking (for me) is that when you are being introduced and you know that this is it - you're next. Eeee.. the very thought makes me nervous. But know that after that - everything will be fine. Your nervousness will die down and you'll enjoy speaking in no time.

PRAY. Smile. Breathe. Cliche but prayer can do wonders. Ever since elementary days, mommy always tell me:  "Every time you are afraid, imagine that Jesus is holding your hands. Squeeze it tight, close your eyes and inhale deeply." This too shall pass.

After all the preparation and humdrum,
 THANK GOD that the talk turned out well. 
What's priceless is the inspired look in each student's eyes, 
it's as if they telling me that - they won't quit and 
will be on their way of becoming a successful individual. 
In that light, I'm happy to know that it's mission accomplished.
Soli Deo Gloria. -CMK.


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