• Never miss an opportunity to speak: it is practice that makes it perfect. As long as you don’t hog all the time and attention, you will be seen as a reliable speaker that has the capacity to fill a gap when everyone else has either cancelled their speaking opportunity or changed their mind about delivering their speech!

• Don’t be too prepared: leave some room for improvisation and spontaneity. Otherwise it will look as if you are scared and memorized the whole script. People want to see you, the person, throughout the speech. They want to feel your warmth, share your successes, your failures and your challenges, and they will want to know how you raised above it all and kept on going. They want to know that you are human too!

• Memorize your speech if it makes you feel more comfortable but have some stories and personal stories to draw from when you mind goes blank. Maybe have some cue cards with bullet points or notes on them so that you don’t have to get in a panic if this happens.

• Use pauses to draw attention to a point or story you have just delivered so that people have the opportunity to take it in. Use pauses also to highlight a point just for effect: the silence that follows up the point, or the silence that precedes the point you want to make, will create anticipation and people in the audience will be wondering “what is coming next” – so they will naturally pay attention because there is a change in the rhythm of the speech, produced by the pause or silence (longer pause).

• Use statistics and researched data to strengthen a point you want to make. It will make you sound more professional and an expert in the matter. People want to listen to experts as they want to learn something worthwhile.

• We use Aha’s and Um’s when we are buying time to think. However, too many Aha’s and Um’s are distracting and dilute the power of your speaking. It is better to stay silent while you are thinking. Although it may be uncomfortable for you and the audience my be wondering what is going on, to avoid the audience feeling unsettled or dreading you having lost your train of thought, you can move from one side to another of the speaking area, or look down as if considering something in your mind, or staying with the feeling of what you just said (for instance, you are showing that what you just said has created some feeling for you too).

• When it comes to body language, remember not to keep your hands in front of solar plexus all the time. This gives an impression that you are protecting yourself. Open up your arms a little bit, use your hands to add expression to some of your points, move your body together with your message to create some entertainment and dynamism. You don’t want to look like a lamp post, stuck to one place on the ground and without moving for the whole length of the speech: it would make your audience feel uncomfortable. Even if you can open one arm at a time, it will make you feel more vulnerable but also freer. And remember that public speaking is about taking risks as well!

Author's Bio: 

Dr Ana Garcia has a Doctoral Degree in Metaphysical Sciences specializing in Transpersonal Counselling (integration of higher consciousness in the counselling process) and a Masters degree in Education and Languages. She is a Coach U CTP graduated Life and Business Coach and has a management qualification with the British Institute of Management.

Dr Ana is a Reiki Master and a Spiritual Mentor. She has studied the Metamorphic Technique Universal Principles with its founder, Gaston St. Pierre and holds qualifications in Character Analysis and Graphology with the British School of Yoga and Nutrition with the School of Natural Health Sciences (UK).

Dr Ana is a Communicator Silver (ACS) and Advanced Leader Bronze (ALB) with Toastmasters International (www.toastmasters.org), a non-profit organization that teaches communication and leadership.

Her main speaking subjects are: emotional energy, control dramas, metaphysics and coaching on personal development. Using her coaching and public speaking skills, Dr Ana helps individuals find their strengths and communicate in a completely original and personal way, avoiding cliché and stereotyped performances.