9 STEPS TO SUCCESSFUL SPEAKING
1. Read through the entire passage looking for correct meanings of more difficult words, places to pause, to raise or lower your volume levels and any other possible pitfalls. You don't want any surprises!
2. Map out the places that you intend to breathe using a pencil to mark these spots. Breaths are usually taken at the end of an idea: e.g. ‘I have always loved to paint’ is a complete thought, and you would breathe right after this phrase. The only exceptions to this could occur on a really long phrase or just before the end for dramatic purposes.
3. Try to divide the passage into sections that each make a dominating point. This will help you to remember the order and feel more confident when you deliver it.
4. Keep reading through the passage, reading aloud so that you can hear your own voice, and also get used to certain sections within the passage that resonate particularly with you.
5. Try to memorize some sections, especially if you are involved in public speaking, as looking at your audience directly and not looking down at your notes so often, will maintain their attention and overall, have a greater impact.
6. Practice in front of a mirror so that you can observe yourself and see if you are doing anything weird or distracting physically that can turn off an audience.
7. If you are an online speaker and working with notes, make sure that the notes are positioned so that the viewer isn't distracted by you constantly looking away from the camera. If you aren't using notes then it isn't an issue but try not to distract your audience with sudden or unnecessary movements in front of the camera.
8. Interpretation and expression are the final ingredients. No-one wants to listen to anything delivered in a monotone with little or no inflexions, so remember to add these to the final product. They will enhance what you say, and assure you of the audience's continued attention.
9. Finally, always do a sound check at the event or before a performance, and make sure that the microphone is at the right height for you and that you don't speak too closely to it. This is all part of the preliminary sound check and vital to your success.