In most local campaigns, candidates have very few opportunities to give lengthy speeches. No one really wants to hear a district council or Sub County council candidate talk for 45 minutes. And, most organizations invite multiple candidates to their events. This usually means most of your speeches will be from 3 to 10 minutes long. So, you only have a short time to make a good impression.

If you don’t have much experience at public speaking or if you are out of practice at speaking before a group, you might want to consider a short period coaching group. Their focus is on helping people learn to speak in public. The cost is quite modest and the atmosphere is supportive. The individual groups are run by volunteers.

Tips for Public Speaking are repeatedly mentioned by most organizations. These are all good points, but political speaking has some differences. When you make a political speech you are basically selling yourself. So, you can talk about issues, but it is vital that you connect with the audience as a person. They need to like you and think that you are capable of filling the office you are running for. In the brief time you have, you need to let people know a little bit about yourself and target just a few of your key issues. You may even want to limit your talk to one issue that particularly appeals to the group you are speaking to.

Don’t attack your opponent when you are talking to a non-political group. You need to use the opportunity to help them know you better and you don’t want to put the focus on your opponent. Most people really don’t like negative campaigning. Having it come directly from you makes it even more offensive to them.

In a political speech you also need to be extremely careful with humor. Humor scores a lot of points if you do it well, but if you’re not good at humor, don’t strain to fit in a joke. Also, make sure your joke won’t offend anyone. Plenty of politicians have gotten in trouble because they told a joke without really thinking through whether or not it was offensive to some person or group.

Keep in mind that people will be watching you throughout the event, not just when you are speaking. Show the utmost respect to other speakers, talk to as many people as you can before and after the event and be courteous to your opponents and their supporters.

People care a lot more about your character than they do about your public speaking ability. If you pull out your cell phone and start answering calls when others are speaking, your rudeness may negate whatever support you gained from your speaking skills.

You may win more friends by sticking around and helping put the chairs away after the event than you will from a brilliant speech. Still, it is well-worth putting some effort into becoming a good speaker and creating a high quality speech since most people see public speaking as a skill that politicians should have.

Tips for Public Speaking

How to find your confidence
Feeling some nervousness before giving a speech is natural and even beneficial, but too much nervousness can be detrimental. Here are some proven tips on how to control your butterflies and give better presentations:

1. Know your material. Pick a topic you are interested in. Know more about it than you include in your speech. Use humor, personal stories and conversational language, that way you won’t easily forget what to say.

2. Practice. Practice. Practice! Rehearse out loud with all equipment you plan on using. Revise as necessary. Work to control filler words; Practice, pause and breathe. Practice with a timer and allow time for the unexpected.

3. Know the audience. Greet some of the audience members as they arrive. It’s easier to speak to a group of friends than to strangers.

4. Know the room. Arrive early, walk around the speaking area and practice using the microphone and any visual aids.

5. Relax. Begin by addressing the audience. It buys you time and calms your nerves. Pause, smile and count to three before saying anything. (“One one-thousand, two one-thousand, three one-thousand. Pause. Begin.) Transform nervous energy into enthusiasm.

6. Visualize yourself giving your speech. Imagine yourself speaking, your voice loud, clear and confident. Visualize the audience clapping – it will boost your confidence.

7. Realize that people want you to succeed. Audiences want you to be interesting, stimulating, informative and entertaining. They’re rooting for you.

8. Don’t apologize for any nervousness or problem – the audience probably never noticed it.

9. Concentrate on the message – not the medium. Focus your attention away from your own anxieties and concentrate on your message and your audience.

10. Gain experience. Mainly, your speech should represent you — as an authority and as a person. Experience builds confidence, which is the key to effective speaking. A skills building team can provide the experience you need in a safe and friendly environment


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