Five Tips to Take the Fear Out of Public Speaking

August 3, 2017
Christopher “Shoots” Veis knows public speaking isn’t necessarily a natural gift for many civil engineers.

Speaking in front of groups doesn’t come naturally to most engineers, and for many, the idea of it inspires dread.

Christopher A. (Shoots) Veis, P.E., M.ASCE, has been there, and in his new book for ASCE Press, Public Speaking for Engineers: Communicating Effectively with Clients, the Public, and Local Government, he says preparation goes a long way toward calming nerves.

Here are his five essentials when planning a speech that will help put you at ease:

1. Define the objectives for your speech so that you can focus on what you are going to say to your audience.

Public Speaking for Engineers WEB VERT2. Determine the type of speech you will be giving. Most engineers deliver speeches that inform.

3. Know who will be in your audience so you can gauge how best to communicate with them. What is their knowledge level? What is the age group, occupation, other factors?

4. Size up the room where you will be speaking. Explore how the room will be arranged and its audiovisual equipment. This will also help you develop a Plan B in case something goes wrong.

5. Consider the type of meeting you will be addressing. Formality that is appropriate in one situation will seem stuffy in another.

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