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Speeches 101: How to Give a Great Speech & Overcome Your Fears by Angie F.

Have you ever had to give a speech in any of your classes and felt anxious? If your answer is yes, then you are like a lot of people in the world who are afraid to give speeches. One skill that society emphasizes is public speaking, which is why you may need advice on how to be successful. So let's dive in and go into some tips on how to give a speech and how to overcome your fear of public speaking.

1. Go First and Get it Over With

A great way to overcome your fear of public speaking is to volunteer to present first. Being the first to speak may reduce some anxiety because you won't compare yourself to your peers and you can relax throughout the rest of the speeches. Also, you might be considered as brave because you went first!


2. Project Your Voice

You need to project your voice for a few reasons. First, if you are doing a school presentation and you don’t project your voice, you will wind up losing points and your grade will drop because you didn’t present very well. If the presentation that you are doing isn’t a school presentation, it is still good to project your voice. If the audience can’t hear you, they will lose interest in your presentation.


3. Accept Constructive Criticism

If you are doing a presentation, make sure to accept constructive criticism because that can make your presentation skills better. Constructive criticism is when you respectfully criticize. For example, if you are an audience member and your classmate asks for constructive criticism, you could say, “I loved your presentation; however, your voice was a bit hard to hear from where I was seated,” instead of saying, “You are way too quiet so speak up!” or “Don’t present at all, you’re terrible at it.” Constructive criticism is more accepted than destructive criticism (opposite of constructive criticism) because it is helpful and makes the presenter feel like their effort was worth it.


4. Put Effort into Your Presentation

A good presentation showcases effort. If your presentation looks like you didn’t show any effort, then you may lose points and/or lose your audience because they don’t care about how good your skills are. Ultimately, it is a mix of your presentation content and your delivery skills that will engage your audience.


5. Don’t Use “I”

Don’t use “I” when you have to persuade your audience, unless you back it up with evidence. The audience usually does not need your input, unless you have personal experiences that are relevant to the topic of your speech. Although you can use “I” in an opinion presentation, you really shouldn’t use “I” in an informative presentation.


6. No Logical Fallacies

This one mostly applies to a persuasive essay, but don’t use logical fallacies. For those who don’t know, a logical fallacy is an error in your reasoning that can lower your trustworthiness. Some popular logical fallacies are the strawman (bringing up a topic unrelated to the argument), cherry-picking (only highlighting the good parts of the argument while ignoring the rest), and bandwagoning (saying that because multiple people agree with your point, you should too). If you use any of these fallacies, you are probably going to get backlash from your audience and/or lose points on your presentation.


7. Have Fun

A presentation should not be considered your worst nightmare. Try to ignore the audience that is staring at you and pretend like you are speaking to yourself in the mirror. Also, remember don’t compare yourself to your classmates because everybody has different skill levels and practice levels, so one presentation that is fun for one person can be scary for another. It’s important to remember that we all try our best to give an excellent presentation.


If you follow these suggestions, you can impress your teachers and classmates. Remember to go first, project your voice, accept constructive criticism, put effort into your presentation, don’t use "I" unless you’re trying to convey your opinion using evidence, avoid logical fallacies, and have fun.

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