19 Things to Keep in Mind Before Speaking in Public

Knowing how to deliver a great speech is an essential skill for a leader. Martin Luther King Jr., Steve Jobs, Barack Obama… We remember them for how they spoke in public.

But what we see is the result of years of practice. They weren’t born “public speakers”. They spoke to a few friends, then to a larger audience, and progressively to the world—spreading their stories step by step.

Here’s a helpful checklist to keep in mind before and when you speak in public:

1. Know your audience.
2. Remember why you’re here.
3. Keep your feet grounded on the floor (no dancing).
4. Play with the space. (E.g. move from A to B to walk them through your story.)
5. Open your arms. Owning your space like the Vitruvian Man will boost you level of confidence.
6. Convey your message clearly. Clarity is essential to good communication.
7. Be more confident. Confidence comes with preparation and practice. Before that “fake till you make it”.
8. Breath!
9. Use the adrenaline rush to your advantage.
10. Pause. Communicating also happens through silence.
11. Feeling nervous is the result of vanity. Speaking in public is not about you, but about your audience and the message you want to deliver.
12. When you move, have a reason for it.
13. Get rid of the tension. Relax your shoulders. Again…
14. Work hard on the content and the format.
15. Get rid of the “hmm…”, “like”, and “you know”.
16. Show a high level of energy and be in the moment. (On a 1-to-10 scale, how engaged are you?)
17. Have a clear message that can be summarised in one or two sentences.
18. Repeat this message.
19. You’re on stage to tell a story. You’re there for your audience. Serve them.