Know what you’re talking about
It is a fundamental for any form of public speaking practices to understand what your material is. Especially if the topic is controversial and you needed to make a stand or offer a solution, it pays to understand the material. If not, you will end up with dead breaks and awkward silence which is not at all a good thing for a live, public event. Never be afraid to use humor or use stories to add richness to the topic. The goal is to be aware of the topic and if you need to add stories and make some jokes at one point, if it makes sense, then do it.
To practice or not to practice
Even in very personal speeches, practicing can be a great way to deliver a point more effectively. Sometimes when we talk straight from our minds, the speech can go in circles and it can make the whole experience boring unless you have the communication skills for long narration (but you are here, so that means, you might still be working that out as well). It pays to practice. Listen to your intonation and make sure that you are not speaking in an offending intonation while still keeping a natural flow to it.
Be an early bird
One way to improve speaking skills is to go to the event as early as you can and head to the stage or podium and do a little visualization. That is a great way to expect what will happen. Will you be able to see the faces of people? What cues are you going to use? How will you use the entire stage or should you just stand on one area?
Never apologize for setbacks
We all make mistakes and we always feel apologetic especially when others are looking. One thing to keep in mind is that they usually do not mind at all unless it’s your rival in high school who has not matured yet after all these years. Do not feel that everybody is looking for mistakes. Some of them do not care at all so keep talking.
Don’t feel sensitive or insecure
You are here, speaking in front of a massive audience. Feel proud that you can speak before these people because you are letting them know that you have something to offer. Enjoy the opportunity and remember, your goal is to use your communication skills to deliver a message. Keep that in mind and you can improve speaking skills very well.