Workshops/Soft Skills Development Series/Presentation Skills and Public Speaking

Presentation Skills and Public Speaking

Workshop Information

Cultivating confidence is a process, not an event. This is especially true when it comes to presenting in public or delivering speeches. Public speaking and presentation skills are important for almost any job or career. In the working world, you may at some point be asked to present to a group of people about a certain topic, pitch an idea to your boss or lead a meeting. These are all situations where effective communication skills can either help you stand out from the pack or land you in hot water. Working on your presentation skills doesn’t have to be scary! The key is preparation and practice – speaking in front of others tends to get easier with time and practice. Below you’ll find some tips and tricks on how you can start developing your own public speaking abilities…

Presentation Skills and Public Speaking

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Before the big day: Practice, practice, practice

When is the best time to start preparing for a big public speaking event? As soon as you know about it! Before the big day, you should start by practicing your speech out loud as much as you can. This might seem like a silly or unnecessary thing to do, but it is an essential part of public speaking. First, practicing your speech out loud can help you identify areas where you need to improve your language or phrasing. By saying your speech out loud, you will identify any areas where you stumble over your words, stutter or make unnecessary noises. Practicing your speech out loud can also help you memorise your speech. It might seem like you shouldn’t need to memorize what you are going to say when you have the written version in front of you, but even the most experienced public speakers forget what they are supposed to say.

Scripted speeches and practicing with a friend

When you are practicing your speech, try to stick to the script as much as possible. After all, you will have plenty of time to improvise and be creative once you are standing on stage. Writing your speech out by hand and memorising it by reading it aloud will help you avoid any mishaps with technology. The last thing you want is to freeze up on stage because you accidentally deleted one of your PowerPoint slides! If you have a friend or colleague who you feel comfortable enough with to practice in front of, they can also be a helpful resource for you as you practice. Having someone there to listen to you practice can help you identify areas where you stumble over your words or make unnecessary noises. Having a friend or colleague there with you can also make the process of practicing your speech more fun.

Using visuals to help you rehearse and feel more comfortable

Using visuals when you are practicing your speech can also help you feel more comfortable with your presentation. You might want to try out different fonts for your PowerPoint slides when you are practicing so that you can see which ones look the best. You can also try adjusting the size of your font or highlighting certain sections to get a better feel for what you want your speech to say. When you are planning your visuals, you need to ensure that they aren’t too complicated or that they demand too much of your audience’s attention. You want your visuals to be helpful and engaging, but they shouldn’t be distracting. When you are practicing, try to give your visuals a few glances to get a feel for how they look or sound. You don’t want to overdo it, though. You don’t want to spend so much time looking at your visuals that you forget what you are talking about!

The day before: Rituals to feel less nervous

On the day before your big day, you might be feeling pretty nervous. This is completely normal. Many people feel nervous before big presentations, but that doesn’t mean you should let those nerves get the better of you. There are plenty of things you can do on the day before your speech to help lower your anxiety. Before your big day, try to get a good night’s sleep. Getting plenty of sleep will help you feel more energised and less anxious on the day of your speech. Likewise, you should eat a healthy diet on the day before your speech. Avoid salty and sugary foods, as these will make you feel more anxious and jittery. Similarly, avoid caffeine (or at least drink less of it) on the day before your big day.

On the big day: Breathing and posture practices

When you are in the moment of your speech, you may forget all the practices you have been doing to prepare for your presentation. That is normal! When you are up there on the stage, under a lot of pressure from your audience, it can be hard to remember the breathing exercises you’ve been practicing. During your practice sessions, try to get into the habit of practicing your posture and breathing. Your posture can make a huge difference when you are presenting to a group of people. By keeping your back straight, shoulders down and head up, you will feel more confident. Engaging in proper breathing can also help you stay calm during your presentation. When you are nervous, you tend to take quick, shallow breaths. This can make you feel even more stressed out. Practice taking slow and controlled breaths to help you stay calm and collected.


The best way to become a better public speaker or presenter is to practice as often as possible. With time and experience, you will gain confidence and become more comfortable with the art of public speaking. If you have a big presentation coming up, try to start preparing as soon as possible. By practicing your speech, using visuals and engaging in helpful breathing and posture practices, you will be able to feel more relaxed and confident on the day of your big day.