I’m one of the few people that actually enjoys public speaking, and I consider myself an advanced public speaker. Here are my tips:
2 – Move around a little. A rigid, stationary speaker is boring. And look at your audience – maybe pick five points in the room (front left, front right, back left, back right, center) and glance at each one from time to time. This helps with eye contact.
3 – It’s nice if you can memorize your entire presentation, but that may not be for everyone. If not, notes will help, but don’t “read” from them. They should be either index cards or a page of large font talking points. This keeps you on track, but doesn’t give that “reading from a paper” feel.
4 – Make it as conversational as possible. Anecdotes, small stories, real world examples… they go a long way in making a speech interesting.
5 – A little humor can help. But, in general terms, nothing even remotely risque.
6 – Practice, and if it’s needed, get your timing down. If at an event you are slated to speak for seven minutes, seven and a half minutes will not do. Nor will six.
7 – If there’s a presenter / emcee (etc), most times you can end your speech by turning to the presenter and sort of re-introduce him or her (“Mister Chairman” “Ms. Johnson”, etc). Leave the stage from the opposite side that he or she comes from (so you don’t do the “get out of each other’s way” dance).
8 – If possible, wear clothes you are comfortable in. If you are not a suit and tie person, it’s really hard to give a speech in a suit and tie that you wear once every two years – you’ll just feel “off”. Sometimes this is unavoidable, but try and find a way to be as comfortable as possible. You can loosen your tie and open your top shirt button before the best man speech.
9 – Voice inflection can really be an asset in many speeches. Pretend you’re telling a story to a bunch of kids – this will help with voice inflection.
10 – If speaking/presenting/etc on occasion is going to be a part of your life – even just a little – then join Toastmasters. Can’t recommend them enough.