Senior Tips for Public Speaking

Senior citizens have lots of wonderful ideas. After all, they have a lifetime of experience and the time to ponder over the meaning of just about everything. Unfortunately, too many senior citizens keep their good ideas to themselves. Sadly, for some seniors, this could be do to dementia or memory loss. But for other seniors, they may night think what they have to say is very important. To stand before a group of other seniors and share their thoughts may seem torturous to some and just too much effort for others. However, speaking in public can be a great tool for seniors to keep your mind active.

Believe it or not there are plenty of seniors who really would like to hear your thoughts, opinions, experience and suggestions. If you have some good ideas and a format to present them, then all you may need is a few senior tips for public speaking to help you along.

1. Be prepared. 

In any speaking engagement, by or for people of any age, the key element is always solid preparation. This includes a thorough exploration of your subject, the organization of your material into sequential chunks of information and the physical preparation of an outline to guide you along.

As a senior citizen making a presentation you will want to prepare in just that way. Only you will also want to prepare your own small collection of personal aids like a bottle of water for that tickle that you know you will get after 10 minutes or a few tissues for that inopportunely running nose of yours. You’ll stand up more confidently as a senior citizen in front of any group if you know you have come equipped to stand and deliver. That’s why good senior tips for public speaking always begins with being prepared.

2. Know your group

As your rise to speak you will feel much more relaxed if you have already made a quick study of the group you face. If you are speaking to a group of seniors then you need to assume that some will have hearing issues, some will be visually impaired , there may be some who will need to sit towards the back so they can sneak out to the lavatory.

Seniors may have all manner of ailments. There may be folks on oxygen, people who cough or clear their throats frequently, even folks who doze off. It’s important for you to consider how the physical issues your audience displays are likely to effect your concentration and your successful presentation. According to, anticipating the make up of your audience is crucial in allowing you to both appear and actually be relaxed. A good senior tip for public speaking is to make sure you know the composition of your group before standing before the podium.

3. Know your goal

Speakers at any age and in any situation can fail in their presentation even if they know their subject and their audience well. The failure can come simply from being unclear about the goal of your talk. Are you there to convince people of something or are you simply sharing your experience?. Have you come to prove a point or merely to stir up interest in a topic? Is this a sales pitch or a witness talk?

According to John Rogan of, knowing your goal and what you hope to achieve will give tone, energy and direction to the material you have come to share. Stating that goal at the outset will help your audience orient themselves as well. The audience is less willing to try to follow your presentation if they are unsure where you are trying to take them. That’s why an important senior tip for public speaking is to know your goal.

4. Use a focus

Seniors making a presentation to other seniors will find that both speaker and audience benefit immensely when the speaker uses some type of visual focus. A map, a chart, a graph, a projection of any kind call out to the audience and keep everyone tuned in to your topic.

The focus gives those people who tend to mentally stray a tool to help get back with the group. Using some kind of focus tool also can help you as the speaker to stay on topic. If you begin to digress from the main topic to share an anecdote you will find it a lot easier to bring yourself and everyone else back with you to the main ideas of the talk if you have a visible focus before the group.

5. Move it or lose it

It’s an old saying but one that serves as a good senior tip for public speaking. You have gone to enough boring presentations yourself to know that if the speaker remains in a fixed position, he or she is very quickly going to bore the audience. “Action animates you, and your action can also help to keep your audience alert and alive which helps motivate and inspire them from your speech” suggests Sean Adams from

If you are a person in good physical shape then put that gift to work for you. Move about at the front of the room but also move among your listeners. There is nothing that gets people’s attention as quickly as the speaker moving towards them or passing by them. When you move you wake up the crowd and make them more receptive to what you have to say. Whatever you do, avoid standing in one place the whole time you are speaking.