Becoming an effective public speaker is certainly not something that happens overnight.

There are no shortcuts to becoming a great public speaker.

It's a journey that takes time, patience and effort.

Since my professional rugby career came to an end back in 2001, public speaking now plays a major role in my life.

Was it easy for me when I started? Certainly not!!! But the more I did the better I became.

We've all heard the old adage of practice makes perfect. Well this certainly holds true when it comes to mastering the arts of public speaking.

You'll have your bad days when starting off, but if you just hang in there you will definitely succeed in public speaking.

Below I've summarized 5 public speaking tips that I always follow to ensure I deliver a top-notch presentation.

1. Focus On Your Audience and Not On Your Nerves.

It's important that you realize that over 90% of your nerves go totally unnoticed by your audience. The sweaty palms, the shaking hands and the butterflies are things that only you are aware of, so avoid focusing on them, and instead focus your attention on the audience.

Simply by doing this, you will firstly build up a better a rapport with your audience, and secondly, most of your nerves will quickly disappear.

2. Make Eye-Contact.

When nerves bite, a natural reaction for most of us is to want to hide. Unfortunately, when speaking in front of an audience there is no hiding place. When in these types of situations, the tendency is to either look to the floor and look away from the audience.

This is a No, No!!!!

To build rapport with your audience you must have visual contact. Look directly into people's eyes with confidence and compassion. When you look at someone and they smile, make sure you return the gesture. Doing this will helps greatly in making you and the audience feel more comfortable and at ease

A great technique that I use, is to pick out three random people in the audience to focus on- one person on my left, one in the middle/in front of me, and the other on my right.

I then deliver my whole speech to these three particular people.

As I speak I tend to focus on each person for about 3-4 seconds, and then move my eyes on to the next person in the sequence. I make sure however not to make eye contact for too long as this could make the other person feel uncomfortable and possibly freak them out.

This is a very effective way of creating the impression that you're addressing and making eye contact with your whole audience.

3. Make No Apologies

Making an apology at the start of your speech or presentation is one of the worst things you can do. Saying things like 'I'm sorry but I didn't have much time to prepare for this presentation, 'I apologize if this boring', or 'I'm not very good at public speaking', then demonstrates to your audience that you're unprofessional and frankly you're not worth listening to.

Don't get me wrong if you turn up late, you have a cough or heavy cold or let's say your equipment breaks then these are things you should apologize for.

But generally leave the apologies at the front door. The audience is only interested in hearing what you have come to specifically talk about.

4. Nail Your Speed And Tone

It's important when delivering your speech to get the pace right. Speaking to quickly will make it difficult for the audience to keep up which will then result in them losing interest. Slow the pace of your delivery by focus on your pronunciation and phrasing.

Your tone is also a fundamental component of a good speech. A monotone voice will make your audience think your presentation is dull and drab. We've all sat through lessons at school where the teacher has just droned on and on in a monotone voice. How soon was it before you totally switched off from what they were trying to teach?

That's exactly what your audience will do if you subject them to the same kind of agony.

You want your audience to feel compelled to listen. Speak with passion and clarity to evoke feeling and excitement with your listeners.

Also don't forget to smile. A genuine smile will relax your audience and help them feel more 'at-one' with you.

5. Avoid Information Overload

Be mindful of not bombarding your audience the mountains of facts and details. Studies have shown that people only remember a small number of facts that speakers convey during their speeches. With that in mind, concentrate on covering just a few key points within your speech. If your speech is short then you may want to narrow down your topic to just one key point.

Public speaking is not a science it's an art. By following these five tips you can be an effective public speaker that everyone wants to listen to.

Author's Bio: 

Public speaking is for many a skill that has to be learned and practiced. Go here and discover the art of effective public speaking so you can deliver a show-stopping speech to any audience.