‘The human brain starts working the moment you are born and never stops until you stand up to speak in public’ Sir George Jessel
Practice may not make perfect but at least it takes away a little of the stress which most of us feel at the prospect of speaking in public. No doubt we all have our different ways of preparing a speech, but the simplest advice is that it should have a beginning , a middle and an end, and it is the last which may be the most difficult part. As someone said - ‘a speech is like a love affair - any fool can start it but to end it requires considerable skill’.
There are various techniques to help you avoid the impression that you are merely reading a prepared script, and if you are going to do a lot of public speaking then some professional tuition may well be worthwhile.
‘After dinner’ speaking is probably the most difficult form of public speaking, as lightness and humour are probably as important as the content. in preparing your speech, very selective use of an anthology of humorous quotations may be helpful.
Radio or television interviews are a specialised form of public speaking - the main skill seems to be the ability to get your message across whilst avoiding answering directly any of the questions put to you.
Public speaking tuition:
www.schoolofeverything.com - a site which introduces (for free) those who want to learn to those who can teach
If you are thinking of taking up public speaking as rather more than a hobby, see http://www.professionalspeakersassociation.co.uk
This site is designed to encourage speakers to join their professional association and to enable members to keep in touch with one another and share best practices in order to raise the standards of presentation and professionalism.
anthologies of humorous quotations:
http://www.comedy-zone.net/guide/quotes.htm archive of humorous quotes
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Dictionary-Humorous-Quotations-Paperback-Reference/dp/0192806572/ref=pd_sim_b_shvl_title_2/026-0208027-0826009?ie=UTF8&qid=1194465724&sr=11-1 Oxford Dictionary of Humorous Quotations ISBN 13: 9780192806574 ISBN10: 0192806572
http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_ss_b/026-0208027-0826009?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=Pass+the+Port&Go.x=7&Go.y=9 Pass the Port - the best after dinner stories of the famous ISBN 0 9504923 0 2