20 public speaking tips for students in 2024

For some students, the idea of speaking in public is their biggest nightmare. 

However, improving your public speaking skills holds immense value in academic and professional spheres.

Communicating effectively is a cornerstone of success, whether you’re delivering a class presentation, participating in a debate, or addressing a large audience. 

Thankfully, the internet has many public speaking anxiety tips to help you manage it. Let’s explore 20 invaluable tips for expressing your ideas confidently.

Our 20 best public speaking tips for students

Public speaking can be daunting. If you’re finding it challenging, you're not alone. 

Glossophobia is a fear of public speaking, and it’s pretty common. Studies show that it affects approximately 75% of the population. 

The good news is that you can learn to reduce this fear and speak with confidence. 

Here are some public speaking tips for students to help you nail your next presentation or speech:

1. Write it out

The first step to masterful public speaking is to write out your speech. This will help you organize your thoughts, establish key points and ensure a logical flow. 

Whether you’re using pen and paper or a laptop, writing out your speech allows you to pinpoint areas you may need to reinforce with research or anecdotes.

2. Practice

Practice makes perfect in many areas, including public speaking. And we’re not just talking about novices. Every famous speaker practices their speech. 

Practice your speech multiple times, preferably out loud. This will help you get a good grasp of your content and create a smooth flow. 

Practicing also boosts your confidence, which plays a significant role in effective public speaking.

3. Tell stories

Stories are powerful tools in public speaking. They make your presentation engaging, relatable and memorable. Try incorporating personal stories or relevant case studies to illustrate your points and engage your audience.

4. Make notecards

Memorizing your entire speech word-for-word can be challenging and not always possible. Notecards with key points or ideas from each section of your speech can serve as a guide and keep you on track during your presentation.

5. Know your audience

Understanding your audience is crucial for effective public speaking. It aids in tailoring your speech to suit your listeners’ needs, interests and expectations. 

Research your audience’s age range, educational background, cultural context and other relevant characteristics. This will enable you to create a presentation using language that resonates with them and holds their attention.

6. Record yourself

One practical tip is to record yourself while practicing your speech. While many are reluctant to watch themselves back, it can help you assess your performance. 

It will also allow you to identify any areas for improvement regarding your tone, pace, body language and overall delivery. 

7. Rehearse in front of others

Practicing in front of others can provide invaluable feedback. This doesn’t have to be a big group—just a few friends, family members, or classmates. 

They can highlight areas you might not have noticed and provide constructive criticism to improve your presentation. 

Rehearsing with others can also help you become more confident presenting in front of people.

8. Manage your anxiety

Managing anxiety is a significant challenge for many public speakers. Practice techniques such as deep breathing exercises, visualization and positive affirmations to manage your nerves. 

Remember, it's perfectly normal to feel nervous before a speech. Take a deep breath before you speak and channel that calm energy into your talk. Focus on your passion for the topic and your desire to share it with others.

9. Maintain perspective

Don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Making a mistake is not the end of the world.

How you recover from a mistake is what makes you a good public speaker. If something goes wrong, quickly acknowledge it, make light of it if appropriate, smile and move on. It’s that simple.

10. Be confident

Confidence can significantly impact your public speaking performance. Believe in yourself, your abilities and your message. 

Remind yourself of the amazing opportunity you’re receiving to be speaking. Stand tall, speak clearly and maintain eye contact with your audience. 

Confidence is contagious. If you show that you believe in your message, your audience will feel that energy, too.

11. Prepare for the unexpected

Prepare yourself for any unforeseen circumstances. These can be technical issues with the projector, forgetting your lines, or unexpected questions from the audience. 

You can prepare by: 

  • having backup materials
  • familiarizing yourself with your speech so you can improvise when necessary
  • tackling audience questions during your rehearsal with friends or family

12. No need to apologize

One of the most common mistakes in public speaking is beginning with an apology or apologizing during the speech because you believe you're doing poorly. 

Apologizing draws attention to your perceived shortcomings and undermines your authority. Unless you've made a major factual blunder, there's no need to apologize. Just move on with your speech.

13. Improve one aspect at a time

Mastering public speaking doesn't happen overnight. It's a gradual process, so focus on improving one part of your skill set at a time. 

Maybe you need to work on your pacing one week and concentrate on your body language or tone the next. Breaking the process into manageable parts can make improvements more fun.

14. Tour the space beforehand

Before your presentation, familiarize yourself with the space where you will speak. Knowing where you will be standing, the layout of the room and the acoustics can help you feel more comfortable and in control when you speak. 

15. Smile

The most underrated and easiest public speaking tip is to smile. Smiling makes you appear approachable, releases tension and relaxes you. 

Remember, your audience wants you to succeed—they're on your side!

16. Mind your posture, gestures and facial expressions

Your body language can speak volumes, even before you say a word. Stand straight but relaxed, use natural gestures to emphasize points, and maintain positive facial expressions. 

Avoid walking too much, fidgeting, staring at your notes or crossing your arms. These behaviors can distract your audience.

17. Keep your audience engaged 

Ask your audience to participate in your presentation. You could do this by asking questions, inviting comments or including interactive elements such as polls or quizzes. 

Engaging your audience makes your presentation more memorable and keeps their focus.

18. Leave a takeaway

At the end of your speech, leave your audience with a key message or call to action that they can remember. This 'takeaway' ties your presentation together and clearly conveys your point.

19. Ask for feedback

After your presentation, don't shy away from asking for feedback. Accept constructive criticism graciously, and use it to improve your future presentations. 

Even the most experienced speakers can learn something new. 

20. Keep it concise

People's attention spans are limited, so prioritize key information. Make your speech as clear and concise as possible, without unnecessary repetition or tangents. 

This will make it easier for you to structure your speech and for your audience to follow along. 

Improve your public speaking with Pip Decks

Incorporating these tips into your preparation and delivery will undoubtedly help your public speaking skills. You can also try the Storyteller Tactics deck from Pip Decks.

This deck will help you craft a truly memorable story that inspires your audience. You'll feel like a pro speaker in no time.

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