How can I improve my public speaking skills?

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Never use a podium or dais. Anything which hides more than half of your body while addressing to the public makes your impact a little ineffective. A visible body from head to toe reflects confidence.

Keep an open small water bottle on the podium or a glass of water handy somewhere near. In case you are unable to remember anything about the speech do pick the water bottle/glass and start drinking. It shall provide with few seconds to recall subsequent lines while drinking water and audience shall be clueless about it.

Use collar-mike or ear-mike to keep hands free. Paralanguage skills are important. Use hands and gestures to point to people in the crowd or to draw the attention of the audience towards the presentation screen, if any.

Always open the subject by reciting any personal experience related to the topic to be delivered. Conclude it with a powerful quote of any significant personality in the field of your topic.

Put forth questions for the audience the reply of which is a short and simple “Yes” or “No” or any particular fact or figure. People are usually hesitant about giving answers which involve long description of opinions.

Make it a habit to gaze the Jury/chief guests/dignitaries after every minute or two. Aim to impress them.

Ask politely ''it would be humble of you mam if you silence your cellphone'' or ''I'd request the gentleman standing at the back to kindly have a seat'' or similar formal request if there appears a hindrance amid speaking.

Public speaking is a subtle art of combining the pitch, modulation and tempo of the voice in the best manner.

While speaking try to fix the gaze on few people who are actively listening. Mostly, find those nodding their head.

Add dynamic animations to your presentation. Don't include a large amount of text. Add images to provide the description. I usually go for 8-9 PowerPoint slides for a 15-18 minute presentation.

Try to find incorrect facts, figures or opinions of other speakers and criticise them. Applaud the ones who deserve stating what you liked in their speech. Draw links from previous speakers by quoting "Mr XYZ talked about this before me but he forgot to add that..." or "I'm glad to hear Mrs XYZ's opinion on this which is praiseworthy as I also wanted to discuss this in detail…"

Before start of speech look into the mirror and say this loudly 3 times “people here ready to listen to me are fucking morons, I'm gonna blow their mind in 10 minutes”.

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