Top Public Speaking Tips From The Toastmasters World Champion

Last updated on June 9th, 2023

Many people dread public speaking. And with good reason. After all, who would want to be in a very vulnerable position: being in front of a crowd, under their scrutiny, talking about something you may or may not really know a lot about. In fact, public speaking anxiety may just be hardwired into the human DNA. However, no one is born with a gift for exceptional public speaking. It is a skill that is harnessed through practice and experience. Here are some powerful public speaking tips from none other than the Toastmasters World Champion himself, Dananjaya Hettiarachchi.

Essential Body Language Tips from a Champion Presenter

Before we can move on with how to design your presentation, let’s start with something basic. The video below provides some tips regarding body language that you should keep in mind when delivering a presentation.

Toastmasters Public Speaking: Think About Your Message and Main Idea

Now, let’s move on to the orientation of your presentation. As with any talk, seminar, report, or even conversation, you have to have a main idea that anchors every information you are going to put out. The same goes with any public speaking engagement.

Whether you’re going to talk for 5 or 50 minutes, you have to have a central message that will tie everything together and give body and flow to your speech. From this message, after all, you can begin to write your script and put together your slides.

Use a Clever Title to Create Curiosity

The first few seconds you’re on stage is very critical to the success of your public speaking or presentation endeavor. Remember, the success of your presentation will also provide you an edge in your career especially in the business setting. Therefore, it pays to pay attention to invest time in honing your skills in public speaking and presentation.

According to Hettiarachchi, a prominent public speaker who won World Champion in Toastmaster, an international educational organization that helps people hone public speaking and leadership skills, the first rule to remember is to use a clever title that immediately catches the attention of your audience.

The first few seconds you step on stage can already create an impact and make the audience already decide whether they will pay attention to you or not, take you seriously or not. Therefore, pick a great title, because your name will be called along with your title as you go on stage with your presentation.

Grab the Attention of Your Audience

It’s not enough that you have your audience sitting in front of you. You have to make sure that they stay there, hanging on to every word you say. That’s what professionals and expert speakers like Hettiarachchi are able to do; with time, practice, and continuously honed skills.

As you introduce your topic with a clever title that gets the crowd curious about what you have to say, you have the first 45 seconds to frame the problem. This is important because this part of your speech is going to address what the rest of your presentation is all about without giving all the answers out right. This is more like a teaser so your audience will pay attention and find themselves seeing value in what you are yet to say.

You can use a quick anecdote, a joke, a quotation, or even mention a relevant current event to start your speech.

Recommended reading: Public Speaking Books

List Main Points and Clearly Elaborate in Your Speech

According to Hettiarachchi, he doesn’t go beyond 5 main points in his speech. In fact, his optimum is 3 main points. This keeps your speech clear, easily understandable, concise, and memorable.

By structuring your presentation and script to revolve around 5 main points, you ensure that you have a short speech that stays within topic and stays interesting as well.

Audience Remember First What They Hear Last

Be guided on the Principle of Recency. This principle means that people are bound to remember the last thing that they hear from your speech, so make that last part of your presentation count. End on a high note and you can be sure that your audience will find your presentation effective, successful, and memorable.

This is How You Should Prepare for a Presentation

Here is a video which summarizes all the aforementioned.

Being in front of a crowd of people puts one in a defenseless position–helpless from ambush and nothing for cover. These days, though, prominent public speakers only have no one beside themselves in case of scrutiny, criticism, and the fearful sound of “boo” from the crowd. However, with a bit of practice, keeping in mind the tips given above, you can be just as good as the best in the business.

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