7 common public speaking issues — and how to fix them

Public speaking can be daunting, but with the right skills and practice, anyone can become a good speaker. Lauren Dominguez Chan and Eva Margarita, experts in speechwriting and public speaking, share seven common problems people face when speaking in public and offer solutions to overcome them.

1. Problem: My speech is unfocused.
   Solution: Identify your core message. Before diving into your speech, determine the one thing you want your audience to walk away with. It could be an idea, a feeling, or a call to action. Having a clear core message will guide your speech and help you connect with your audience.

2. Problem: I don't know what to include in my speech.
   Solution: Point everything back to the central idea. Once you have your core message, ensure that all the ideas and stories in your speech align with and support that message. Avoid including unrelated or unnecessary information.

3. Problem: It feels like I'm talking to my audience.
   Solution: Use vivid imagery and storytelling. Engage your audience by incorporating honest and detailed stories that stimulate their senses. Create "sticky stories" that people will remember, making your speech more impactful and memorable.

4. Problem: My speech doesn't sound natural.
   Solution: Write for the ear. Focus on writing in a way that sounds natural and conversational. Use simple words and sentences to effectively convey your message. Don't try to impress with complex language; simplicity is often more powerful.

5. Problem: My message isn't connecting with the audience.
   Solution: Practice in front of people. Rehearse your speech in front of friends or family members to get their feedback. Consider recording yourself and listening to it for self-evaluation. Joining a speech club like Toastmasters International can also provide opportunities for practice and constructive feedback.

6. Problem: I'm so nervous.
   Solution: Take a deep breath. Before speaking, take a few deep breaths to calm your mind and body. Practice self-regulating breaths, allowing your belly to expand on inhaling and audibly exhaling. This will help alleviate nervousness and promote a sense of calm.

7. Problem: Oops, I messed up!
   Solution: Slow down and start again. If you make a mistake or stumble during your speech, pause, take a deep breath, and recalibrate. You can restart the sentence or clarify the word you stumbled on. Remember, people are less likely to notice these pauses than you think. Focus on setting yourself up for success rather than striving for perfection.

By following these tips and putting in the necessary practice, you can overcome the challenges of public speaking and confidently deliver impactful speeches.  

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