Introduction | Message | Audience | Structure | Physical Aspects | Psychological Aspects

Physical preparation for public speaking

Public speaking is a very complex process. One of the factors that affect the final result is physical preparation. In the following part we will discuss ways to prepare for public speaking in order to efficiently deliver a speech.

Firstly we have to answer one question: Which parts of your body do you use when you speak in front of an audience? – All of them, of course. Therefore it is very important to do a complete warm-up, starting with each part of your body ending with the vocal organs.

Whole body warm-up

Place your feet slightly apart, shifting your body weight on one foot while you point the toes of the other leg.
Rotate the pointed foot clockwise and anti-clockwise. Do seven repetitions with each leg.

Physical 1


Knee rotation: Place your feet slightly apart and put your hands on your hips. Lift your bent leg and rotate your lower leg seven times to the right and seven times to the left. Do the same with the second leg.

Physical 2


Hip rotation: Place your hands on your hips and keep your neck and head straight. Rotate your hips in big circles; seven times in clockwise and seven times in anti-clockwise direction.

Physical 3


Wrist rotation: Hold your fingers intertwined. Rotate your wrists in both directions for 60 seconds.

Physical 4


*Shoulder rotation:*Place your legs at shoulder width. Keep your arms straight at your sides. Rotate both shoulders in both directions. Seven repetitions for each direction.

Physical 5


Forearm rotation: Stand as shown in the picture below. Raise your hands shoulder-high. Do dynamic forearm rotations with your forearms. 30 seconds in each direction.

Physical 6


Head rotation: Stand on straight legs. Place your feet at shoulder-width. Keep your hands at your sides. Rotate your head in a clockwise and anti-clockwise direction; seven times in each direction.

Physical 7


Vocal warm-up

The best way to get the most out of your voice is to learn to breathe properly. It is also the best way to start your warm-up.
Place your legs at shoulder width; keep your knees relaxed and your arms hanging loosely. Theoretically and ideally, you have already gone through a physical warm-up. Take a deep, diaphragmatic breath and then bend your torso forward towards your legs as you exhale. Roll back up and repeat, this time adding a sound as you inhale. Repeat several times, getting louder each time.

Play ‘motorcycle’: Vibrate your lips, make engine sounds, and take the pitch up and down. Pretending to ride a motorcycle is optional, but is more fun.
Massage the sides of your jaw, releasing any tension you are holding there. Place your hand under your chin and then open and close your jaw as fast as you can, making a sound. It will come out something like “wawawawawawaw”, but remember: the faster the better.

Stand upright; breathe deeply, slowly and with control and start repeating “Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha”. Think of Eliza Doolittle with her paper and flame. Listen and try to hear if the sound is resonating in your chest; feel the vibrations.
Sustain your breath on a hum. Play with the pitch, up and down the scale, feeling the vibrations resonate through your body. As you get more used to feeling the resonance, try and move it deliberately, through your chest, your jaw, your nose, your sinus cavities, your forehead, the top of your head, then back down again.

Moving on, we go from open sounds to shaped ones, working different syllables to loosen the tongue and jaw. Start with each set slowly, repeating it until you feel confident, then increase your speed until it is almost a hum. – La – Le – Te – Ta-Ka – O-E – mamalo papalo


Facial muscle warm-up

Remember when doing these exercises that it is important to move the respective body part in each direction as far as you can until you feel the muscles stretch. Stop if you feel any pain. Repeat every exercise a couple of times. Observe yourself in a mirror so that you can correct and adjust your facial expression.

Movie 1. Cheeks warm-up

Movie 2. Jaw warm-up

Movie 3. Lips warm-up

Movie 4. Tongue warm-up

Each experienced speaker knows that if you want to deliver a good speech, your whole body has to be ready. It is recommended to do vocal exercises on a regular basis. Whole body and vocal warm-up is a must before any successful speech

How you present yourself to the audience – for example, dress code

The dress code is an important part of the presentation and in creating your own image. How you are seen by your audience or the public is essential for your image. When talking about trouble finding the right outfit, you can discuss a number of conflicting principles.
The general rule of dress code for presentations is that a person who is giving the presentation should be dressed well and formal wear might be most suitable.. If you expect the audience to de dressed smart casual, you can wear the same style of clothes – do not forget the tie.

If you expect the audience to be dressed casually, you should also just be wearing jeans and a shirt – your pants should not have a crease, but still wear a shirt with long sleeves (no tie). If you expect listeners in suits or three-piece-suits also wear the same kind of suit.

However, there are people who always dress in a distinctive way, displaying their own style. They never match with the audience. An example might have been Steve Jobs – always dressed in a black turtleneck and jeans. Certainly, when you reached a certain level of people liking you, you can also ignore the general principles of dressing.

If you consider a selection of colours and designs, the safest way is: only one part of the pattern, the rest plain. For example, a plain pair of trousers, a plain jacket and a plain tie but a striped shirt.
Regarding the colours, each person can of course individually match them the way they suit him/her. If you are not sure, ask a specialist or someone for help in your environment that dresses well. This will save you time and money on clothes which you feel unsure about and thus never really end up wearing.

Task: Watch various public speakers, observe how they dress. Find out if their dress code is well adjusted to the speech or not. What determines this?

Non-verbal communication
Our postures, gestures, facial expressions, our mimics, the quality of our voice (rhythm, flow rate, tone), how we occupy space or our dress code – all that constitutes to our non-verbal communication.
The secret of good communication lies essentially in the correlation between the verbal and non-verbal message.
Gestures are an unconscious language, it is therefore important that both the conscious and the unconscious message are in line.
Ask yourself, what message do I want to share? When you have answered this question, your gestures will naturally correspond to the words that are spoken; this is called “congruency”.


The preparation of your voice will help you feel more comfortable and confident the Day D when you should pay particular attention to several aspects.

Articulation and Pronunciation:
Articulation is the ability to produce individual sounds. Pronunciation is putting sounds together to make understandable words. Understandability is key. Don’t blur words. Voice complete and distinct sounds. This is not as simple as it sounds. Articulating plosives is a big help: b. d, g, dz (j in jump), p, t, k, ts, (ch in child), particularly when they end words as in “white.”

Say only words! Don’t vocalize, making sounds like “um, uh, er, aaah.” Avoid sounds that only masquerade as words, like “like,” that impart zero information. Learn to enjoy silence.

Tone & Inflection:
The tone of your voice. It is high? Low? A low voice may carry better. Correct breathing will help you achieve a lower pitch, to a point. So will relaxing.
Don’t sound like you are arguing with somebody. Beware of the inflections of sarcasm; these inflections usually don’t play well and can sound whiny and annoying.

The speed at which your thoughts are put together out loud. Normal conversational speech is done with rapid bursts of sound. Public speaking pace should be slower and more deliberate than conversational speech. What may seem to be too slow to the speaker is very likely just right for the audience. The pace you choose may be related to the kind of audience and content of your material. Aim for a slow pace, with lots of pauses between ideas.

don’t shout, but speak pound enough !

Source :

Tajniki wystąpień publicznych. 101 porad dla prezenterów. Łukasz Dąbrowski

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