On Friday, May 7th, 2021, Belina facilitated a tutor training workshop which began at 1pm.  She began the session by welcoming all the attendees.  Then she gave out the topic which was Public Speaking and used a participatory way in presenting the topic, starting with asking questions to the tutors who had to share their ideas on what they knew concerning the topic.  Belina asked:

  • How many tutors have ever spoken in public?
  • In which ways do they speak in public?
  • What tools do they use in order to speak comfortably in public?

Then Belina started her presentation by calling one tutor from each school to stand in front of the others and summarize about the project, to explain what is The Toa Nafasi Project and to talk about the activities they do.  Belina felt they did well but that there were some things they had to improve on like facial expression and body language during presenting.

Thus Belina corrected where they did wrong and explained ten ways to improve public speaking such as: practice and prepare; know your audience; organize your material; watch for feedback; let your personality come through; use humor and tell stories; do not read unless you have to; use your voice and hands effectively; grab attention at the beginning and close with a dynamic end; and, use audiovisual aids wisely.  Belina explained each way with examples and emphasized the possibility for the tutors to improve with practice and over time.

Belina’s objective in conducting the workshop was to help the tutors to become good public speakers in any matter at school and in the community, for example in meeting with parents and guardians and at village events.  She also wanted to the tutors to develop public speaking skills which can increase confidence and reduce speech-related anxiety.  Her recommendation was for the tutors to do more practice with public speaking in order to improve their abilities and confidence.

Belina’s presentation notes are below:


  1. Nervousness Is Normal. Practice and Prepare!

All people feel some physiological reactions like pounding hearts and trembling hands.  Do not associate these feelings with the sense that you will perform poorly or make a fool of yourself.  Some nerves are good.  The adrenaline rush that makes you sweat also makes you more alert and ready to give your best performance.

The best way to overcome anxiety is to prepare, prepare, and prepare some more.  Take the time to go over your notes several times.  Once you have become comfortable with the material, practice—a lot.  Videotape yourself, or get a friend to critique your performance.

  1. Know Your Audience. Your Speech Is About Them, Not You.

Before you begin to craft your message, consider who the message is intended for.  Learn as much about your listeners as you can.  This will help you determine your choice of words, level of information, organization pattern, and motivational statement.

  1. Organize Your Material in the Most Effective Manner to Attain Your Purpose.

Create the framework for your speech.  Write down the topic, general purpose, specific purpose, central idea, and main points.  Make sure to grab the audience’s attention in the first 30 seconds.

  1. Watch for Feedback and Adapt to It.

Keep the focus on the audience.  Gauge their reactions, adjust your message, and stay flexible.  Delivering a canned speech will guarantee that you lose the attention of or confuse even the most devoted listeners.

  1. Let Your Personality Come Through.

Be yourself, don’t become a talking head—in any type of communication.  You will establish better credibility if your personality shines through, and your audience will trust what you have to say if they can see you as a real person.

  1. Use Humor; Tell Stories, and Use Effective Language.

Inject a funny anecdote in your presentation, and you will certainly grab your audience’s attention.  Audiences generally like a personal touch in a speech.  A story can provide that.

  1. Don’t Read Unless You Have To. Work from an Outline.

Reading from a script or slide fractures the interpersonal connection.  By maintaining eye contact with the audience, you keep the focus on yourself and your message.  A brief outline can serve to jog your memory and keep you on task.

  1. Use Your Voice and Hands Effectively. Omit Nervous Gestures.

Nonverbal communication carries most of the message.  Good delivery does not call attention to itself, but instead conveys the speaker’s ideas clearly and without distraction.

  1. Grab Attention at the Beginning, and Close with a Dynamic End.

Do you enjoy hearing a speech start with “Today I’m going to talk to you about X”?  Most people don’t.  Instead, use a startling statistic, an interesting anecdote, or concise quotation.  Conclude your speech with a summary and a strong statement that your audience is sure to remember.

  1. Use Audiovisual Aids Wisely.

Too many can break the direct connection to the audience, so use them sparingly.  They should enhance or clarify your content, or capture and maintain your audience’s attention.

Marjorie North is a consultant for political candidates, physicians, and lawyers, and runs a private practice specializing in public speaking, and executive communication skills.  Previously, she was the clinical director in the department of speech and language pathology and audiology at Northeastern University.