On Sunday night I attended an awards banquet that included brief speeches by 10 high school student honorees. As most of them struggled through their speeches, I felt like jumping out of my chair to share a few tips that I knew would help their delivery.
To my daughter’s great relief, I remained seated. And since I couldn’t share the suggestions there, I decided to put them in a Mind Mint so that novice speakers of any age might avoid some of the Frequently Made Mistakes (FMMs) of public speaking. Four quick tips:
1. Speak Up: The audience wants to hear what you have to say. The microphone will do most of the work, but you still have to project. Don’t be afraid to reposition the mic or ask someone to do it for you.
2. Slow Down: Remember that you’ll be nervous, so make a note on your script to start slowly. And put in prompts to “breathe” between paragraphs.
3. Make Eye Contact: Even if you’re using a script, find opportunities to look upat the audience. A good time to do this is when finishing a thought: you know how the sentence ends, so instead of reading the last few words, raise your eyes and say them to the audience.
4. Practice Right: When you practice your speech (and you should), focus on the three tips above. If you rush when practicing, you’re more likely to do the same when it counts. Same goes for volume and eye contact.
Following these four suggestions will help any presenter avoid the FMMs of public speaking...and will guarantee that I don’t jump out of my seat to offer any “helpful” suggestions.

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