After getting his start in public speaking thanks to Hamilton’s public speaking competition, he returned to College Hill in January to share advice with students through the Oral Communication Center. Here, he shares insights that may be helpful the next time you find yourself in front of an audience.

How do you overcome public speaking anxiety?

Address the reasons, beliefs, and thoughts that cause you to feel the anxiety in the first place. Most people resort to practicing more, getting more speaking reps in, and learning more skills — but does that really address what caused the anxiety in the first place?

What if you have to speak off the cuff?

Use the PREP Method to sound clear, concise, and compelling:

  • Point: State your point or your opinion.
  • Reason: Explain the reason why you believe this point to be true.
  • Example: Provide an example or evidence to support your reason.
  • Point: Wrap it up with your point again to reinforce your message.

What are the most common speech skepticisms holding a speaker back?

Skepticism: It’s bad to feel nervous, awkward, or uncomfortable.
Truth: I don’t need to escape out of discomfort. It’s okay to stay with these feelings.

Skepticism: Lack of audience engagement is always the speaker’s fault.
Truth: Audience engagement can be influenced by many factors, including the audience’s interest in the topic, the setting, or the time of day.

Skepticism: Spontaneous speaking lacks depth and value if I don’t prepare.
Truth: Spontaneity can lead to genuine insights as you adapt to what’s going on.

What three things are most important about public speaking?

  1. People don’t care about how much you know until they know about how much you care.
  2. Instead of seeking comments such as, “Wow, you’re such a good speaker,” seek out comments such as, “Wow, how did you know how I was thinking and feeling?”
  3. Speak to include, not to impress.

As founder of BostonSpeaks — and a Harvard Business School public speaking coach and three-time TEDx speaker coach — Kit Pang ’10 has helped everyone from Fortune 500 CEOs to NFL players to 3-Star Michelin chefs learn to communicate with confidence and influence.

Kit Pang ’10 Founder of BostonSpeaks Kit Pang ’10

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