Helpful Hints for Public Speaking

  • Organize all materials in advance.
  • Arrive on time, preferably early.
  • Tailor your speech to the interests of your audience. It is recommended to survey the audience prior to the lecture in order to meet their objectives. A campus student group might be most interested in university policy on care and use of animals, while the local Rotary club might want to hear about how animal research has affected diseases that commonly strike the adult population.
  • Visual aids should be used to enhance your presentation and to accommodate English language learners.
  • The PowerPoint slides should not dictate the course of your presentation. Decide what you want to say based on the audience’s objectives, and use slides to illustrate certain points.
  • If you are using visual aids, have the lights dimmed, but not completely out. Continue to face your audience and not the screen.
  • If there is a podium, try not to stand behind it the entire time. Move around to better interact with the audience.
  • The podium should be set up on the left (as you face the front of the classroom) as people normally follow the flow of information in a slide show from left to right, including the speaker.
  • Consider other types of illustrative material that might enhance your presentation, such as a piece of equipment (shoebox cage with bedding, nestlet, mouse igloo, some pellets, treats, or similar items, along with foldable paper mice from CRB/CSBR).
  • Permit your audience to ask questions throughout presentation, and also allow time for a question-and-answer period following your presentation.
  • Use language that is simple, and define words that students may not know. Avoid using acronyms.
  • Avoid abstract concepts. Use specific and concrete examples that the audience can identify with and will find applicable to their setting.
  • Make eye contact with students.
  • If you are challenged on a statement (such as the necessity of using research animals), you can do much to defuse the situation by acknowledging respect for another’s beliefs and values, and also by framing your statements as “I messages.”
  • Never say “You’re wrong” if it is clear that someone in your audience is making statements based on misinformation. A good way to respond is to ask, “May I tell you something more about that?” Asking permission to convey the facts is more likely to induce the person to listen
  • Leave materials with students, such as a VTC headpiece.
  • Enjoy yourself; show enthusiasm!

Hints provided courtesy of CSBR.