The do’s and don’ts of public speaking

Did you know that some people fear public speaking more than death? We’re guessing that isn’t you ‘cause you’ve clicked on this article.

At Pragmatic Thinking, our expert facilitators do public speaking every single day and thanks to them, we’ve got a tonne of tips and tricks up our sleeves.

In saying that, here are the do’s and don’ts of public speaking; make use of the do’s and you’ll become a public speaking superstar overnight. Well, maybe not overnight, but with some careful practise, we’re sure you can get there.


How to rock at public speaking

Here’s are a few things you should know when presenting an idea or preparing to take the stage:


Don’t have a script.

When was the last time you presented something based on a script? Unless you’ve got some acting experience up your sleeve, remembering a script word-for-word is pretty difficult.

What tends to happen is we get caught up on getting every single word right and it leads us to fumble, get stuck, and ultimately detracts from the point we’re trying to make.


Do know your stuff.

Make sure that before you go into your presentation that you’ve got a strong knowledge of the topic you’re speaking on. This will make it much easier for you to speak off-the-cuff and sound more naturally charismatic.

Using bullet points to organise your thoughts and prepare is a great alternative to using a script. If you want to make sure that your key points are remembered to make sure to discuss them at the beginning and end of your talk for best results.


Don’t overload your PowerPoint.

Have you ever been in the audience of a presentation where the speaker’s PowerPoint slides had word-for-word everything they were saying?

The dangers of overloading your PowerPoint with text are two-fold.

For one, your PowerPoint will be cluttered with text and distracting to the audience. On the other hand, if everything you are going to say is on the PowerPoint, why do you need to be there presenting?

By putting enough content on your PowerPoint to be useful, you’ll remain to be the point of credibility as you deliver your message and explain each point.


Do use visual aids.

Even though we encourage you not to overload your PowerPoint with text, it’s still useful to include visual aids when speaking to a large audience. You’re not going to know from looking at a room of people what kind of learning style everyone has, so it’s best to include various tools to communicate your points.

If you go the extra mile to include images and diagrams throughout your presentation (they could even be drawn on a flip-chart) you’ll be more likely to engage the visual learners in your audience.

By including images in your slides you’ll also be able to evoke more emotion, which will make your points more memorable.


Don’t over analyse yourself.

While it can be tempting to practice your talk in front of a mirror at home, doing so excessively can cause you to over analyse every little detail from the way you hold your hand to the way you stand.

Even though non-verbal communication is important to consider, over analysing your performance can stress you out and leave you with a lack of confidence in your delivery.


Do practice what you’re going to say.

While you don’t want to go into practice overload, you shouldn’t avoid practising as a whole. Taking the time to go over your key points and get familiar with your content will help you to deliver your message with confidence.



What makes someone a great public speaker?

As a whole, a great public speaker is someone who can effectively engage their audience, communicate a clear point and do so with a bit of unique flair.

Go forth and learn your stuff, use visual aids and practice. You’ve got this.


Did you find this list of do’s and don’ts useful? If you did, be sure to share it around on LinkedIn.

Want to explore other science-backed ways to improve your public speaking? We can help with that too.