Tips for 1st Speech of Semester


First speeches are coming up and we at the communication center want to help you out!

Communication teacher and theorist Nick Morgan tells us that ten percent of the population loves public speaking, another ten percent are terrified by public speaking, and the rest of the population is somewhere in the middle, usually getting butterflies when going up in front of a group of people. Luckily, there are ways to diminish this fear greatly.

Picture of someone standing in front of a class delivering a speech

Three tips to help with your next presentation!

Physically: Be aware of what your body is doing. Many people move around or fidget when presenting just because they don’t know they’re making these movements. The ‘butterflies’ that some people experience is caused by adrenaline, so by learning to control your body and channel energy into a different medium (like making well-thought-out hand gestures), you can eliminate this excess energy! Know how you look and move when presenting.

Mentally: Know that everyone else is in a similar position as you in your class. If you wouldn’t notice a tiny mistake or organizational mishap, your audience probably won’t notice it either unless you showcase it! Recognize that you are your own worst critic.

Vocally: Be careful of verbal fillers. Instead of saying “um” or “like” to fill empty space, just take a moment and pause rather than use unnecessary phrases. Be intentional with your words in your presentation to make yourself the most credible sounding speaker you can be! 

Extra tip: One of the best ways to get rid of speech anxiety is to be very familiar with your presentation. Practice, practice, practice and you’ll feel infinitely better about the speech.

Come into the JMU Communication Center to get more help on eliminating speech anxiety and getting you the most prepared for your presentations! Contact Paul Mabrey at or visit the our website at

Last Updated: Wednesday, January 24, 2018

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