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How do I get chances to practice public speaking?

I keep hearing that I am supposed to practice public speaking to improve myself. I always imagine that there will be lots of class discussion in college, so I want to be better at public speaking before I go to college. I do not have any real expertise so I don't see how I can find any way to practice public speaking. What would I talk about and where and who would listen? How can I practice when I don't really have anything new to talk about? #public-speaking #communication-skills #oral-communications

Thank you comment icon My goodness, where to start! Public speaking is a battle, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel :) I went from a newbie to a Debate competitor, a Youtuber, and a president of a club. All three of those things involve public speaking. Ways to practice: 1. Join the Debate team! Also, consider taking a Communications class. The result is that you will have a guideline for writing speeches. In addition, your memory will improve. 2. Being a youtuber helped me tremendously. If you record yourself speaking, you can listen objectively. Use your phone or computer. 3. Join a club! All clubs basically require public speaking. You will be presenting to groups of people and even in classrooms. 4. Use goofy tongue twisters and warm-ups. Look some up online! Vera

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Megan’s Answer

Hi Joan,


Check out Toastmasters! www.toastmasters.com. Lots of chapters all of the US, and youth clubs as well. If there isn't a club near you, you can also start one of your own. Best support community for building public speaking skills I've ever been a part of.

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Alison’s Answer

All of these are great ideas. You can also usually find a debate team in the region you live in or join a speach tournament. Another really good experience in public speaking is by volunteering. Nursing homes and hospitals always need people to lead craft groups and other activities. Maybe that's not your style? No problem! See if you can match your interest to something similar. Maybe education is your thing. Ask your favorite teacher to let you TA. More of a wildlife expert? Give it your all at the local vet, wildlife reserve, or even the zoo. Leading is all about putting yourself out there. Public speaking practice can really help your confidence and build great leadership skills you will need for the rest of your life.

Thank you comment icon Yes yes yes. If your school or an area school has a speech and debate team, that is one of the absolute best ways to improve public speaking. Extemporaneous speaking or student congress are great events to both practice public speaking and keep up with current events. Dhrumil Mehta
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Steve’s Answer

Yes, Toast Masters is always good advice. But look for other places at well. Your social groups, your place of worship, and other community venues are great.


A friend went to the library and noticed they have a "English as a second language" group that meets weekly. She got involved as a facilitator and now frequently speaks on subjects that the group requests, including ordering food at different kinds of restaurants, why it is bad to talk religion or politics, and which words you shouldn't say in public. What a great experience.

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Janice’s Answer

Hi Joan


I agree with Megan; Toastmasters is an excellent resource! Check them out. Its an extremely supportive environment and a great way to be introduced to the world of public speaking. Another tip...the more you do it, the easier it gets. Remember, everyone wants to see you do well!

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Barbara’s Answer

Hi - all great suggestions from the others so far. :-) Also, think about volunteering! If there's an area you're passionate about, so many volunteer orgs could use the help *and* you can get great experience leading and speaking with these orgs in a low-stakes, "safe" environment. For example, maybe they need help promoting their organizaiton

Also, working or volunteering with kiddos is another good option (camp counselor? Big Sister/Brother? Mentor? etc.). You'll likely need to speak in front of groups (of kids) in those roles - it's a good way to practice. :-)

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Steffi’s Answer

I would check out Toastmasters for sure. What types of hobbies or organizations are you currently involved in? If you belong to a church, how about offering to teach a sunday school class? Even if you are involved in a school sport, ask your coach to let you make the announcements after practice. Just taking these small steps in talking in front of others will make a huge difference. You can also always grab some family members, have them pick a topic for you to research then give a speech to them. That way you can get constructive criticism from them. They can also video record you so afterwards you can see what you want to work on as you watch yourself speak! Hope this helps!!!!!!

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Mike’s Answer

In tech, we have lots of tech community events (user groups, free local conferences) that give a lot of opportunities to speak. Even if you don't think what you have to say is new, it's new to someone. Remember, when you get up in front of people, for most people their ability to speak and reason goes down, so try to find an opportunity to speak on something that you know really well.


Also you mentioned class discussion in college. Discussions are different than speaking. While they seem related, a speaking opportunity is one where you have time to prepare and lay out what you want to communicate while a discussion requires you to have information prepared (so you can contribute) but is a lot less structured.

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Sandy’s Answer

Statistically, it has been said that the #1 fear most people say they have is Public Speaking. Having been in the Mortgage Industry for over 10 years, I’ve had my share of learning experiences with public speaking. A few ways I’ve found to practice and improve this skillset is to be confident on what you’re speaking topics are about. Engage with your audience and value their time. Practice your talking points in front of the mirror and cast your focus across the room so that you are speaking to everyone. Hope this helps and best of luck to your future endeavors!

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Vandana’s Answer

Hello Joan,


I had the exact same question in mind while I was in school:
"What would I talk about and where and who would listen? How can I practice when I don't really have anything new to talk about?"


I sometimes wonder if we really need to have something new to talk about? Or can we simply reiterate a common belief, feeling, ideology etc. to engage our audience and stimulate a discussion.


How about reading Robert Cialdini's influencing principles.

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Aditya’s Answer

Participate in discussions on subjects you are interested in. Read news papers, books, articles on subjects you are interested in.

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Judy’s Answer

You can attend seminars / conferences on topics you know something about and volunteer to present a topic. You can apply to a learning centre and be a teacher / tutor on a school topic you know something about. This is not really like giving a speech, more like improvising - you have your topics / subjects you are to teach and you speak freely with guidelines in your head rather than memorize word for word. You do have to be able to anticipate questions and be able to answer them.

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Shannon’s Answer

I think its amazing that you are concerned about Public Speaking in this way so early on. Kudos to you. that means you will excel later on in your academic endeavors. Experience will come, that I can guarantee. In High School and especially College; you may get tired of public speaking because it comes with almost every class.
But like others have said websites are great. Youtube videos of good and bad public speaking will give you an idea of why there is such an emphasis on this because some people can do it and some simply shouldn't.
But there are a lot of tips in books as well, but when your time comes that's when you will actually see what it entails.
Try giving an informative speech to family at home about something that will be of interest to them but is something new. Watch there attention span to you, their interest 10 minutes later, their body language etc.

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Alejandro’s Answer

Hello, I agree with people´s reccomendation regarding toastmaster is an excellent option but to me practising is the best way to excel this skills, everytime that you have the opportunity to speak in public for any reason, could be in your class, during a meeting, in front of your family, etc, that will help you to feel more confident doing so, if you ask for feedback is another way to identify what could be your improvement areas, you have to be open to listen constructive feedback, I consider myself an introvert person so I have faced this situiation in my life, feeling vulnerable when you´re doing it is not a bad thing is your chance to identify what you can improve next time, try to engage in activities that force you to practice this.

Alex

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G. Mark’s Answer

Toastmasters is right up there and an excellent way to overcome the public-speaking fear syndrome that is so prevalent in folks.


I would add to that something that some folks consider "corny" these days, but it was devised originally as a way to treat emotional disorders in kids and get them to open up. Improvisational Acting. Take a class in that. It forces you not only to speak in public, but to be able to create and share your thoughts spontaneously. Folks who speak from scripted lines are usually easy to spot. But an engaging speaker will usually be someone who can interact with the folks he's talking to. It makes the audience be at ease and in turn makes you comfortable with them.


Thirdly, I would recommend another "corny" solution. Try standup comedy. Look for open mics or showcases. It's the acid test of public speaking. Bad comics are easy to spot. Comics who are wooden and memorize their lines and don't react or interact with others are boring. If you're bad, your audience will let you know very quickly. And if you can put up with rejection in standup -- and you will, no matter how good you are -- you'll be able to face any audience -- ANY audience with confidence. And that will help you be comfortable with people. And help them be comfortable with you. And enhance your ability to communicate your ideas and understand theirs. And that's how society works best.

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Moghe’s Answer

All great advises...

To become a great public speaker you need following

Deep knowledge of the topic, Body language, Voice Modulation, Humor, and lastly knowing your audience.

People admire the speaker if he/she truly connects with them. Which means you need to like your audience and truly believe that your speech is going to be your service to them.

I suggest, first explore solo preparations strategies such as, speak in front of a mirror every day and watch and listen your self closely, then video record your speech and review it and have your friends/family review it and have them share their feedback. Use speaking opportunities at your school or community and ask for feedback after your session from your friends.

Hope this helps


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Stella’s Answer

Toastmaster's is a great way! Beyond that, here are two ideas :
--Listen to the stories on The Moth, www.themoth.org. These are true stories, little and big, told by the people who experienced them. The Moth websites has tips on how to tell your own story.
--If you are involved in a church or community center, find a program or event that you can help out with. Let the program leader know that public speaking is a skill that you'd like to build, and they might find a way for you to lead discussions, introduce an event, or otherwise get out there in front.

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Joao’s Answer

Hi,


I would try Toastmasters as well!


Another option would be to prepare a presentation and record it using a camcorder/phone. When you view it, make notes of your areas of opportunity and then address them.


Try to look up presentation skills tutorials online as well. Lynda is a good few options. See example below


http://www.lynda.com/Business-Business-Skills-tutorials/Presentation-Fundamentals/151544-2.html?utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=Search-Biz-Delivering%2BPresentations-XCT&utm_content=45782580906&utm_term=presentation%20skills%20tutorial&gclid=CPSo0JOii8ECFQZrfgodf3sASg


I hope this helps!


Joao

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