Public speaking is a skill that everyone needs to know. Many college students are required to take a course in public speaking as part of their curriculum, but even if you don’t have this requirement it’s something that every student should learn about.
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Why is public speaking important in college?
Being able to speak confidently and persuasively is incredibly important, and can help you secure a job or promotion after graduation. The tips below will help teach you the basics of presenting information in a persuasive way!
1. Practice makes perfect.
The more you speak in public, the better you’ll get at it. Think about your favorite speaker; they didn’t become an expert overnight; they practiced and made improvements on their technique until they became comfortable speaking to large audiences.
If you’re nervous, give yourself some time to practice before your big presentation or speech. Doing some role-plays with friends can help alleviate anxiety so that when the day comes to speak in front of others, you feel confident and ready!
2. Stop saying “um.”
If this is something you struggle with, try practicing your presentation aloud instead of just by writing it out. When we write our thoughts out, it’s easy to get lost in the words and forget to self-correct.
While you’re saying your presentation out loud (to yourself or to others), make sure that you’re pausing at natural parts of your speech instead of stopping between every word.
3. Make eye contact with everyone in the audience.
This is important because it shows that you’re confident in what you are speaking about, and it also makes an emotional connection with the audience members.
Making direct eye contact can be intimidating though, so think about focusing on one person who appears interested while speaking; this will help keep your nerves calm! If your anxiety gets too high during a presentation, remember this tip: people naturally at whatever they find most interesting, which should be you!
4. Visualize success.
Before your presentation or speech, take some time to sit down and think about how amazing it will feel when you get to the end of your talk after having done a great job presenting information in an easy-to-follow manner.
Think about all the positive things that might happen, like receiving applause from the audience or having someone approach you afterward for advice on a similar topic. Thinking positively can help keep anxiety at bay so that when it’s time to speak publicly, you get up there with confidence!
5. Enunciate your words carefully and clearly.
When people don’t clearly enunciate their words, they usually sound muffled or just mumbled because no one can understand what they’re saying. Make a conscious effort to clearly enunciate your words when you present in front of others, and make sure that people can actually hear what you are saying!
6. Don’t simply read off the paper.
This makes it sound like you are reading or reciting instead of speaking naturally. You want your presentation to be informative but also engaging, so try practicing it multiple times with transitions between each section on stage using natural pauses instead of stopping at every line break on your page of notes. Remember, this is about connecting with the audience members not about presenting information as quickly as possible!
7. Do some research before finalizing your speech topic/presentation idea.
If you choose a topic about something you have no interest in, it will be difficult to reinforce your points clearly. Try finding statistics that are relevant to the speech or presentation topic so that you can back up any claims with evidence.
This information doesn’t need to be included word-for-word in your final copy but having an outline of different sources for each point helps eliminate awkward pauses while speaking (which people may interpret as nervousness).
8. Remember the audience is on your side!
This means they want you to succeed and enjoy what you’re saying; keep this attitude in mind when presenting even if people are staring at you with blank faces or giving off other signs of boredom. If this happens, remember some interesting factoids about your topic that make you more likely to listen in.
9. If possible, practice with a friend or family member who will give you honest feedback.
If you’re allowed to present multiple times before your big talk/presentation, don’t be afraid to ask for help! Your friends and family members can tell you what parts of your speech are difficult to understand so that you can fix the issue.
Even if they don’t have formal public speaking training, their feedback is still extremely valuable so try practicing several different ways until it’s perfected!
10. Have fun while presenting!
Remember that this isn’t about trying to get straight A’s on your next paper; it’s about demonstrating what you know best in an entertaining way so people can actually remember it.
Don’t be afraid to show your personality if that’s the best way to demonstrate your points, and always have a smile on your face even during tough moments!
Is public speaking required in college?
As a college student, you’re expected to be at the top of your game. We all know that this includes academics, but what about those extracurricular activities? In high school, one of those was probably public speaking.
You had to deliver speeches if you wanted to pass English class and get a good grade. But as a college student, you’re no longer required to deliver speeches. That’s right; you don’t have to give public presentations if you don’t want to! But before you get too excited, think about what you’ll be missing out on.
Public speaking isn’t just something that employers or professors look for anymore; it’s an important life skill everyone should learn. So even though college technically doesn’t require it, here are some reasons why public speaking is still very necessary in today’s world:
1. You will encounter certain situations where public speaking comes in handy
Remember how I said that college students aren’t required to give any sort of presentation? Well, that may not necessarily be true all the time. Maybe every few semesters, your computer science professor will require you to give a presentation about what you’ve learned in class on some new coding language.
Or perhaps you got hired for an entry-level customer service job that requires speaking with your customers or clients over the phone. Besides, even if college doesn’t require public speaking anymore, that doesn’t mean employers don’t look for employees who can.
In fact, it may not be the degree itself your potential employer cares about; it’s more likely whether or not you have certain skills that will make you a valuable asset to their company.
2. It shows confidence and well-roundedness
As mentioned before, public speaking is a very important life skill everyone should learn at a young age. By keeping quiet and keeping to ourselves, we’re not showing the world how well-rounded we can be as people. And those who do go up on stage and successfully give a presentation seem very confident.
As a college student, it’s crucial to distinguish yourself from your classmates and show employers or professors that you’re someone they should take seriously and keep in mind for future opportunities. Public speaking is an excellent way for you to accomplish this!
3. It gives you an upper hand over other students
Nowadays, college students are expected to be so much more than just smart with numbers. We need to have certain skillsets that make us valuable assets to any company looking for interns or entry-level employees.
Again, public speaking is one of those skills most companies are looking for. So if you want to make yourself stand out from the crowd and give yourself an edge over other students, public speaking is one of those skills you should definitely try to learn!
Public speaking isn’t something college students are required to do anymore. However, it’s still an important life skill everyone should learn at a young age; it gives you the upper hand over your peers and shows employers or professors that you’re someone they should keep in mind.
So don’t wait until it’s too late and determine that you won’t need this skill ever again-there could be many situations where public speaking comes in handy!
How to Overcome Fear of Public Speaking at College
There comes a time in every college student’s life where they have to face their fear of public speaking. Whether it is giving a presentation in class or actually taking the stage, everyone fears the inevitable moment. Remember that everyone feels this way and can be overcome! Here are some tips for overcoming your fear of public speaking:
Overview: Everyone has been in deep anxiety about having to speak publicly, even those who generally seem calm and confident may find themselves feeling overwhelmed.
The sheer number of people that you might be addressing can make things intimidating enough, but then there’s also the fact that you’re expected to get up there and deliver something interesting and worthwhile…the pressure can really get to a lot of people, is why it’s so important to be as prepared as you can.
The best way to get rid of stage fright is to prepare, if you know what you’re talking about then it’ll be easy for you to get up there. Practice your speech in front of family or friends that will give you honest feedback on your presentation, this can help boost confidence!
Another important thing to do is make sure that you are comfortable with the space where the speech will take place. If there’s anything distracting in the room (i.e. noise, people moving around etc.) try and fix it before you go on stage so that your focus isn’t broken when giving your speech.
At the end of the day remember that there’s nothing wrong with feeling nervous when faced with public speaking, everyone gets butterflies in their stomach, it is how you handle the nerves that matter.
Everyone feels this way and it’s natural! But know there are always ways to help overcome your fear of public speaking; start by preparing as much as possible and practicing before giving a speech.
Taking time to fix any distractions in the room where the speech will take place goes a long way as well, not to mention thinking about how you’re going to deal with those initial butterflies. Focusing on staying confident and composed throughout the whole experience can go a long way in helping you relax and give an amazing speech.