Public Speaking Tips

Some helpful tips when presenting about your Peace Corps service.

Voice: Use your authentic voice.

  • Try not to over-perform, act, or have a “storyteller affect”. You are telling a true story from your life. Be comfortable in your own skin.
  • Be aware of the quality and volume of your voice.
  • Be conscientious of your word choice. Avoid overuse of default words such as anyway, at any rate, like, um, you know, eh, etc.
  • Speak with energy, varying your vocal tone and quality throughout. Enunciate and project.

Body: Ground yourself.

  • Try to stay rooted and minimize superfluous movements. It is best to stay close to the microphone (if there is one).
  • Keep your hands out of your pockets.
  • Keep your head up either to maintain eye contact with the audience or to maintain that illusion.

Delivery: Pace yourself.

  • Make no assumption about how and when the audience will react. Roll with it.
  • Be in the moment.
  • Pause when you get the laugh, and move on when you don’t.
  • Start strong and end strong, crisp, clear, and definitive.

Practice makes perfect!

  • Practice with a friend, family member or peer to work on timing, flow, and delivery.
  • Giving your presentation in a shorter timeframe will help you realize the most important elements of the story and focus on them.

Final tips:

  • A good exercise when preparing to speak in public is a flowchart of lines or words that move you through what you want to say. Remember, stories shouldn’t sound too polished or memorized. Your presentation should feel natural and not highly edited, as a written story might be.
  • Don’t assume the audience knows anything about your country of service or Peace Corps. Remember to avoid acronyms and any language reference without explanation.
  • Have fun! Telling about your service is engaging and the audience will enjoy it. Hopefully you can enjoy the journey along with them!