Do you feel nervous when you have to give a speech? You are not alone. Many people struggle with public speaking every day. The key to public speaking is knowing how to calm those nerves and give a wonderful speech. Use the following tips to help you do just that.
If you have to speak publicly, try to keep it at twenty minutes or less. This is the average attention span of most individuals, so speaking for longer than this is going to risk boring them. If you have to speak for longer than this, find some way to change gears in the middle to liven things up.
Make eye contact with your audience members. Doing so makes them feel as if you are speaking directly to them and helps keep them engaged. It also makes you appear confident and poised. Look at various members of the audience as you speak to help engage as many of them as possible.
If you are asked to speak about an unfamiliar subject, be sure to make the most of your research time. Study a wide variety of texts, videos and actual examples of your topic. Talk with people who know about it. When you speak, you can choose to talk about your research and share what you have learned rather than attempting to present yourself as an actual expert.
Use YouTube to watch and view the masters of public speaking. Watch not only for their content, but also for their styles and habits. Pay close attention to famous moments and replicate such mannerisms sparingly for specific effect. Watch speeches of your favorite presidents or other national leaders, as you can find videos going back decades.
Do not chew gum or eat when you are making a speech. The chewing is unprofessional and distracts your audience. It is permissible to sip from a glass of water occasionally so that your throat does not get dry. Keep that to a minimum too, as it serves as a distraction from your message.
Never hold a deep conversation with someone just because they are sitting in one of the front rows. When you are speaking in public, everyone should be just as important to you. Make sure that every single person in the room is fully aware of everything that is being said.
Know your topic well. Take the necessary time to research your topic and learn all you can. When delivering your speech, try to be flexible. Allow participants to ask questions. If you do not know the answer, tell them that you do not know, but you will find the information out and make it available to the group at a later time.
When asked to speak at a wedding, you may be tempted to try some sort of funny patter or to poke fun at the participants. Even when your intentions are good, this can be hurtful. It is better to speak in a friendly, caring and supportive way at this important event.
To increase your effectiveness as a public speaker, maintain good posture when you speak. To inspire confidence you should stand comfortably upright and avoid common posture problems such as slouching or leaning to one side during the presentation. If you don’t intend to use gestures keep your hands in a neutral position, either straight down at your sides or in front of the body with one hand over the other at about navel height. Hold the attention of your audience by adopting a calm and upright demeanor.
Be familiar with the environment in which you are speaking. Arrive early so that you can look over the room and set up and check any equipment you are using. Practice using any audio-visual aids so that you know how they work and you know they are in working order. This helps you avoid an embarrassing issues with equipment and provides you with more self confidence.
Be sure to make good eye contact with your audience. If you are really prepared and know your speech well, this should be easy. Look around the room in a relaxed way. Make eye contact and connect with individuals here and there throughout the audience. In this way, people will feel that you are really addressing them.
Take a look at the venue where you are scheduled to give a speech prior to the event. This will give you a good idea of where the audience will be sitting and where you will be speaking. It will help set you at ease when you get there since the place will be a bit familiar.
Avoid nervous gestures and mannerisms. Don’t cross your arms or rattle your keys in your pocket. Use your hands to convey your points, but not too much. You don’t want to distract or annoy your audience by waving your arms around. Get a friend to watch you rehearse your speech to identify any gestures or movements that may be problematic.
When you have s speaking engagement coming up, practice the delivery on a couple of trusted friends. They can give you some suggestions on your delivery and your appearance. They may be able to observe negative things that you cannot see in yourself. They can help you iron out the kinks in your speech.
If you are filled with nerves before giving a speech, imagine yourself as being someone who is sitting in the audience. Are you the kind of person that would chuckle and point out mistakes of the speaker? Would you be likely to have a lower opinion of the speaker? If you are the one to make a mistake, you need to know it really isn’t a big deal, and you are probably your biggest critic.
If you are one of many people who get nervous in front of a crowd, do not despair. Many great public speakers deal with the same problem. Luckily, there is a way around it. Use the tips above to help you prepare yourself to make the best speech of your life.