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30 Ways to Be a More Confident Speaker

February 18, 2013

30 Ways to Be a More Confident Public Speaker

by Alice Jane-Marie Massa

On this Presidents’ Day of 2013, many of us may be thinking of important speeches delivered during this past week, as well as in the past couple of centuries. Perhaps, you are thinking of your own public speaking skills. Thus, in this post, you will find some encouragement for your being a more confident public speaker. After the listing of “30 Ways to Be a More Confident Speaker,” you will find brief descriptions of the four methods of delivering a speech.

Through my years of teaching speech, I have had the wonderful opportunity to observe how the majority of students significantly progress from the delivery of the first speech to the delivery of the second speech. With each speech you deliver, you do become more adept and confident.

Thirty Ways to Be a More Confident Speaker

1. Be prepared!
2. Be present and on time for each class so that you have the opportunity to hear the discussion concerning the assignment and to hear examples.
3. Be present and on time for each speech day so that you have the opportunity to hear the speeches of other students.
4. Read all assigned chapters and materials.
5. Give yourself ample time to prepare your speech thoroughly and well according to the directives of the assignment.
6. Practice and time your speech until you achieve at least three practice times within the assigned time range; however, avoid practicing your speech so many times that you memorize the speech. Be comfortable with an extemporaneous method of delivery.
7. If possible, rehearse and time your speech in front of one person or more than one person.
8. If possible, audio record and/or video record your rehearsal; review and positively critique the recording of your speech.
9. Practice and rehearse your speech from beginning to end; do not allow yourself the luxury of starting your speech over when you are in the midst of a practice.
10. Practice your speech with the note cards (and visual aids) that you will use at the podium.
11. Practice your speech while you are standing, speaking in full voice, and simulating good eye contact.
12. While you are practicing and rehearsing your speech, simulate as much as possible the classroom setting or other location where you will deliver your speech.
13. Before, during, and after your speech, think positively and confidently!
14. Do visualization exercises prior to your delivery date.
15. Within seconds of arriving at the podium, smile and begin your speech.
16. Maintain good posture to appear and feel more confident, as well as to facilitate better breathing and projecting of your voice.
17. To avoid “butterflies” in your throat, increase your volume and project your voice over “the butterflies.”
18. To avoid “butterflies” which may cause your hands to tremble, grasp the podium or desk tightly; then, release and relax. Repeat this exercise two or three times in a few seconds—just before you begin your speech.
19. While taking a deep breath may be helpful to some people at the onset of public speaking, avoid breathing so deeply that your audience can hear your breathing—especially if you are using a microphone.
20. To avoid “butterflies” that may cause your knees to tremble, remember that you are standing behind a podium and/or desk—no one will see your knees! Shift your weight slowly from one leg to the other, but avoid rocking from side to side or forward and back.
21. To avoid “butterflies” which may affect your stomach, employ all previous suggestions and arrive at the classroom or other setting early so that you have time to relax before your turn at the podium.
22. Concentrate more on your audience than on yourself. Perceive your audience as your guests whom you want to feel welcome and comfortable. Focus on how much your audience should learn from your presentation.
23. Concentrate on the joy of sharing your information—sharing your well-prepared work and/or assignment.
24. If you are not comforted by maintaining good eye contact directly with your audience, simulate good eye contact by looking at the foreheads or tops of the heads of your audience.
25. Remember that your fellow classmates and your instructor are in the classroom to support you just as members of a sports team support one another. This supportive idea among speakers and audience members should also hold true at the place where you work or at an organization to which you belong.
26. Generally, a pause that may be perceived as lengthy to you will actually be quite or relatively brief and will be observed only as an insignificant or brief pause to your audience.
27. You are not judged by making a mistake or pausing briefly: you are judged by how well you recover and continue your speech. Just go on! Do not draw additional attention to yourself by saying, “I’m sorry” or “Pardon me.” Just continue with your speech!
28. Well-prepared, good note cards will increase your confidence throughout your speech.
29. Hearing your own strong and confident voice will boost your confidence through the five parts of your speech.
30. Noting positive feedback from your audience will increase your confidence for the current speech and future speeches.

Four Methods of Delivering a Speech

1. Impromptu: A speaker has very little time or virtually no time to prepare an impromptu speech; the speaker has only very brief and quickly written notes or no notes. An impromptu speech is usually short in length.

2. Manuscript: A speaker prepares a manuscript speech well in advance of delivering the speech. After writing out the speech in complete sentences and paragraphs, the speaker practices the speech by using the manuscript and later delivers the speech by reading the majority of the speech from the prepared manuscript or from a teleprompter.

3. Memorized: As the name implies, the memorized speech is memorized—word for word and sentence by sentence by the speaker. A memorized speech generally does not allow for as much rapport with the audience. A professional speaker or actor may memorize a speech; however, a student should not memorize a speech. (Thus, practice and rehearse your speech until you are very familiar and comfortable with the material, but do not practice to the point that you memorize the speech.)

4. Extemporaneous: For English 151 and for many other public speaking opportunities, you should deliver your speech by using the extemporaneous method. An extemporaneous speech affords the speaker the opportunity to prepare a planning and delivery outline well in advance of the delivery of the speech. The speaker has the time to practice, time, and rehearse the speech in advance of the presentation. The speaker practices with the note cards which he or she will use at the podium. Using brief notes from the note cards (delivery outline) allows the speaker to have the greatest amount of rapport with the audience.

NOTE: Any individual who is preparing to give a speech is welcome to print this document for his/her own purpose. However, if you would like to share this document with a class or other group, please request permission. Thank you.

Good luck with your next speaking engagement!
Alice Jane-Marie Massa

February 17, 2013, Sunday


From → Uncategorized

  1. Hi Alice. Great list. I have noticed that without the visual input, I am much better at talking in front of groups. Before, I was an anxious wreck. Please keep on trying to comment on my posts, and if you wish, send me a regular email when you do so, so if it isn’t coming through the notifications route, I will know that you sent one. Happy blogging. Deon

    Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain.

    Vivian Green


    • Thanks for your comment! Yes, I am determined to resolve the issue with being able to comment on your blog posts. I can visualize a book coming from your essays that you have posted. AJM & Z

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