This past week, I presented my FIRST speech since joining Toastmasters, and I have already learned some useful public speaking tips that I will share with you below. After having success with public speaking in the past and losing confidence in it over the years, I have decided to dive back in! I joined Toastmasters International, a worldwide organization that has public speaking clubs all over the world that you can join. There are many great benefits that I will explain below.
WATCH THE VIDEO HERE:
My first speech was the “Icebreaker” speech, where I talk a bit about myself. It gives me a chance to get out of my comfort zone and also see where my strengths and weaknesses are with my public speaking abilities.
In terms of the Toastmasters clubs themselves, I would recommend them to anyone who struggles with shyness or wants to improve their confidence, social and communication skills, and leadership abilities. So if that sounds like YOU, then go for it! It is a safe space to practice speaking in front of a crowd, and everyone has varying abilities. You will get some great public speaking tips as well by going through the membership manuals.
Later in this article, you will have a chance to read my first speech word for word (or listen by watching the YouTube video above). But before you do that, I want to share with you some public speaking tips that I learned through the process of presenting my speech. I plan to turn this into a series on my blog and YouTube channel, where every time I present a new speech, I will be sharing it in the video. I will also be sharing any public speaking tips and lessons I learn throughout my journey. The goal here is not just to make progress myself, but to inspire YOU to start speaking yourself!
PUBLIC SPEAKING TIPS:
1. PLAY THE PART OF A SUCCESSFUL PERSON
The first tip is to play the part of a successful person. Show up to your speech well-dressed. In a study conducted by Professor Karen Pine of the University of Hertfordshire, she had some students wear a Superman t-shirt and others wear a plain t-shirt. When she asked both groups to estimate how much they could physically lift, the students in the Superman t-shirt thought they were stronger than those in the plain t-shirts. (O’Callaghan, 2014) As you can see, the better you dress, the more confident you will feel.
Also, pretend you are an entrepreneur or TV personality about to give a big keynote speech or a big speech on TV. This helps you gain the perspective that others feel that you are important. You will have the perspective that what you are about to say matters. It helps your mindset focus on offering value to your audience and how effectively you do so, instead of how uncomfortable or nervous you are. When I was walking to the room where I delivered my speech, I remember hearing one of Gary Vaynerchuk’s keynotes in my head. Hearing his motivational voice in my head helped me embody that persona and translate that to my speech.
In addition to the public speaking tips above, you want to focus heavily on the following self-affirmations:
“People are going to care about my speech”
“It is going to be AWESOME!”
“I am going to KILL IT out there!”
2. PRACTICE YOUR SPEECH AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE
I want to stress practicing your speech as much as possible. You want to get to the point where you are just glancing at your cue cards. If you watch my speech in the video above, you will see that I use some cue cards. I think it is totally okay when you are first starting out, as long as you regulate it. You don’t want to be at the point where you are reading your cue cards word for word, but use them as a reference and glance at them here and there. Soon enough, you will be able to present your speeches with no written guidance at all!
What I did was practice a lot on my own, but I also did a dry run in front of my family. They gave me some good positive feedback and some other public speaking tips, and that really revved me up and got me excited for my speech!
3. DON’T SEEK PERFECTION
My final tip is to not seek perfection. Your first speech will not be perfect, and it may not even go great, but that is OKAY. You WILL get better down the road. As self-help guru Tony Robbins says,
“Repetition is the mother of skill”
With repetition and time, your public speaking skills will grow. After your speech is finished, you’re going to have some thoughts in your head like “Man, I could’ve made stronger eye contact”. However, you should be happy and proud that you executed on your goal and completed your first speech. You can apply any public speaking tips you gain by asking others in the room for feedback. You can then use them towards your next speech.
Without further adieu, you will find the transcript for my first speech below. I hope you guys enjoy and learn some public speaking tips by seeing how the speech was written. You will also get to learn a lot more about me and why I run this blog.
MY ICEBREAKER SPEECH:
HOW I WAS RAISED
From the outside, I probably look like a regular easygoing guy, maybe a bit younger than my age. You probably think I am your average engineering student, maybe a bit brighter than most students, with good friends and great memories. While some of this is true…there’s a lot more to me than that.
Growing up, I was raised with very traditional values and ethics. I was taught to follow the rules and always listen to authority, to listen to my parents and teachers. I was very competitive and passionate about whatever I did. It was inside me to want to be the best and I hated failing. Furthermore, I got really good grades in school and I was a very hard worked even at a young age. These things combined made me a great student for a teacher to have. I never got into trouble and I was getting some of the highest grades in my class. But as much as this seemed ideal…it also made me an easy target.
MY PHYSICAL DISADVANTAGE
I hit puberty later than most guys my age. Through elementary school, I was short and skinny with a high-pitched voice. I remember playing sports every day during recess. My abilities were always doubted because of my physical body. I was called a “twig”, “squeaky” (because of my voice), and many other things, trust me. I was also easy to target because I had things others wanted: good grades, good work ethic, and the teacher’s approval. In addition, I was also very competitive. I hated that I was at a disadvantage and I hated that others took advantage of me.
I did not understand why I was being made fun of because my default nature was to be polite, caring, and sensitive. Because I was taught to follow the rules and listen to authority, I did not know how to defend myself. As a result, my self-esteem plummetted, and even to this day, I can say that it hasn’t been fully recovered.
MY LOVE FOR BASEBALL
During the challenge of my past, one thing that held me together was my love for baseball. It was always there for me and was a large source of my happiness. I played for 8 years in a league, and I was often one of the best players on my team. I remember my time as a pitcher. There was one day when my mom came home from work to find that I had left the door unlocked. She was FURIOUS, and she took away my Call of Duty game at a time when I was addicted. Later that night, I was pitching at my baseball game and my mom was there to watch. I had one of the BEST performances of my life, striking out batter after batter. When we got home, my mom had no choice but to give me back my Call of Duty game…
In 2013, my friend came up to me after one of our games and told me that he had a relative in Chicago who could get us free Chicago Cubs tickets. We could turn it into a 3-day trip if our parents approved. I, my friend, and his brother had some of the best few days of our lives. It was the birth of a tradition and a bucket list item of visiting all 30 MLB ballparks.
In 2014, we went to Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington. In 2015, we went to Houston and Dallas. During 2016, we went to Detroit, Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Pittsburgh. And in 2017, we are already potentially going to San Francisco. These trips have made us amazing friends and given us incredible memories that I wouldn’t trade for anything.
Me in front of the Detroit skyline during our 2016 baseball trip
DISCOVERING MY TRUE POTENTIAL
That brings me to today. In the recent stages of my life, I looked myself in the mirror, and I realized that I wasn’t living up to my true potential. I had lingering insecurity about my past, and I wasn’t living my passion every day. This is when I discovered self-development.
Having self-esteem and confidence issues in my past, I knew I needed to work on myself to live the life I’ve dreamed of. I immersed myself in books and blog posts on success, positive psychology, social skills, happiness, and health. I learned that how the brain operates and the beliefs we have about who we can be are not permanent. We can change our mindset with the proper set of habits and experiences.
I recently started to try new things that have scared me in the past. After being good at public speaking and losing confidence in it over the years, I joined Toastmasters. There’s a friend I go out with on Fridays and Saturdays to meet people we’ve never spoken to before. I have been going to a dance class. I never thought I would and I am absolutely terrible at it! Also, I started drinking wheatgrass instead of caffeine in the morning.
My dream is to have a profitable online business where I can help others that suffer from a lack of confidence, a poor mindset, and beliefs that are holding them back from living their dream life. I currently run a blog and YouTube channel where I produce content on self-development, and my vision is to turn it into the business that I dream about.
I believe that our greatest purpose in life lies in our adversity. We can use our obstacles not as a crutch, but as leverage to achieve our dreams. At the end of the day, life isn’t fair, and we all have challenges, but everything that happens to us can either be seen as a burden…or a blessing. I hope that I have inspired you to see the life that you are capable of living today.
MY TASK FOR YOU
As you know, public speaking is a process and the most important of the public speaking tips is being able to identify your strengths and weaknesses.
Please COMMENT BELOW with 1 of YOUR public speaking strengths and weaknesses (they can be related to speaking in conversations if you don’t speak in public). I will comment on mine below as well. I want you guys taking action and to make sure that you guys are improving!
For more self-esteem, confidence, and personal development content I want to invite you to follow me on my other channels:
Finally, please leave me a rating or a comment below! All feedback is appreciated and I am committed to delivering high-quality content every time. Thanks for your support!