Meteorologist shares public speaking tips with speech class


For someone who regularly gives the weather forecast on live television, Lindsey Monroe knows a thing or two about delivery.

Plus, she goes out into the community and does live reports and emcees events and has even taught line dancing and judged pie contests.

Through all of those situations, Monroe has no problem speaking on TV or to a group of people.

That’s rare because the No. 1 fear of Americans is public speaking.

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On Nov. 20, she traveled from her job as a meteorologist at WTHR in Indianapolis to Seymour High School to talk to students in one of Tim Perry’s speech classes. She shared her experiences so the students feel comfortable and confident while communicating with others.

Be prepared

One of her tips is to be prepared. Monroe said she goes into work three hours before the newscast to interpret different models so she can do her own forecasting and make weather graphics.

Then she’s putting information out on the station’s app, social media and website.

“Before I got proficient at breaking down graphic by graphic exactly what I wanted to say, at an internship, I was taught if you’re going to give a presentation, you have a PowerPoint, look at each of your slides and think, ‘What do I want to tell the audience?’ or ‘What do they need to learn about this particular weather graphic or whatever slide you might have up?'” she said.

Making it informative and ensuring it has a purpose, flows and makes sense are key points, she said.

“On a day-to-day basis, it’s pretty similar, but it’s all planning ahead, making sure I’m getting the correct elements out there that I need to and not leaving anything out,” Monroe said.

Be confident

She also said she has to have confidence in what she’s talking about on a wide range of topics and situations that might get thrown at her.

It’s all about having the right tone, too. One day, she may be reporting on fatalities and other serious topics. Another day, she may have to hold a puppy while delivering the weather forecast.

“You’re put into a lot of different situations that are not easy to deal with,” Monroe said. “Being able to still deliver the accurate message while knowing what’s going on around you is also important. Just be confident in what you do and just kind of play to it. It makes the audience more comfortable if you don’t panic.”

There will be times when you are put into a situation where you have to think on your feet and you don’t have time to plan ahead, she said.

“My biggest thing to preach is make sure that you know what your topic is that you’re talking about because that’s going to make you a better public speaker,” Monroe said. “Eventually, once you get put in these situations, it doesn’t really matter. It’s just kind of like describe the situation around you, make sure everyone knows where you are, what you’re doing, and the more you do that, the better you get at it, as well.”

Know your audience and be a good communicator

Monroe said she has talked to high-power people, like the speaker of the House and the president of a children’s hospital, and that has helped her have conversations with everyday people.

At WTHR, on-air personalities are asked to do live remotes at various communities where they may not know anyone.

“It’s kind of hard because you don’t know anything about these people,” she said. “It gives you an opportunity just to have conversations with people that you probably wouldn’t normally take the time to get to know because you don’t see them that often. The more conversations that you can have and feel comfortable talking to people, the better.”

As a weather forecaster, Monroe said it’s also important for her to be calm in situations like severe or winter weather.

“You have to be that reassuring force that everything’s going to be OK,” she said. “You don’t want to overhype these situations. It’s all about the tone and making sure that people trust you because you’re going to keep them safe. That’s something that takes a lot of time to get used to and knowing your audience in any given situation.”

Don’t be afraid to take risks and make mistakes

Monroe said some assignments may lead to new experiences, and she can’t be afraid to take a risk.

In 2017 when she worked for a news station in Memphis, Tennessee, she was sent to Houston, Texas, to cover the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. She had to go live on Facebook while following a convoy of military-type vehicles that were driving through floodwaters to rescue people in a nursing home.

“That was just a really uncomfortable situation because, A, I had never been in it; B, I didn’t really know what I was talking about; C, I didn’t know if we were going to get flooded and stalled out or if we were going to be OK if the road we were driving was still going to be intact a little bit up the ways,” she said.

“There was just a lot going on,” she said. “But getting more comfortable and doing stuff like that at the end of the day makes you feel more accomplished and more rewarded for the stuff that you took a risk on. It’s like, ‘I didn’t think I could do that, but hey, look where we are now. I did it, and there’s proof.'”

Early in her career, Monroe said she wanted to deliver a flawless weathercast every time. That, however, is hard to maintain because it’s easy to mess up a word or phrase.

If that happens, she said don’t get frustrated.

“The reality is no one really notices when you mistakes,” she said. “If you’re saying a word that comes out wrong, you just repeat the word correctly and then move on. It’s not that big of a deal.”

Repetition helps

Monroe said the more she spoke on live TV or in public, the better she became.

In Memphis, she was part of a six-hour-long morning show for two years.

“The repetition of just getting to do it that often and that much, you just get so much better without even realizing it because you’re doing the same thing every day,” she said. “You make mistakes, but you can move on from those mistakes because you get to do it again 17 more times this hour.”

Growing up, Monroe was involved in 4-H and was her club’s reporter and later served as president, and she said being in front of an audience became second nature.

Then at Ball State University, she was involved in the college newscast, radio news broadcast, storm chasing team and geography fraternity and did several job shadows and an internship.

“I would say the real world stuff is really what put me into practice and made me more comfortable because the more you do it, the easier it’s going to get,” Monroe said.

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