If the thought of speaking in public puts you into a tailspin, you’re certainly not alone. Millions of men and women of all ages share your fears. Anxiety doesn’t just affect you physically; it also compromises your ability to get your point across. Fortunately, there are many strategies for developing your public speaking skills.
Make sure you wear a supportive pair of shoes when you do public speaking. You want your posture to be tall and confident, with open and relaxed shoulders so you portray confidence. If you get tense on stage from feet, knee or low back pain, it will affect your speech greatly.
Find one person in the crowd who looks trustworthy and focus on them. Pretend like the two of you are the only people in the room. A major reason why people are scared of speaking in public is because of the amount of people in the room. If you just focus on one person, you will forget anyone else is there.
Know your material inside and out, and confidence will follow. Pick an interesting subject that you have experience in. Stay conversational while delivering your speech. Use your knowledge to impress your audience.
If you must do a lot of extemporaneous speaking, be sure to keep up on current events and topics of interest. In this way, you will always have something new and interesting to say. Remember that it is usually best to choose a complimentary approach rather than a humorous one unless you are extremely sure of your ability to amuse people!
Use note cards if necessary. While memorizing a speech can help, a hard copy isn’t a terrible idea. You don’t have to have the full speech spelled out, but writing down main points can help you make all of your essential points and omit nothing.
Do not discuss your fears with your audience. You might think you’re making a giant idiot of yourself, but your audience may hold a different view. Do not apologize if you realize you made a mistake, but correct is promptly and continue on.
If looking at an audience makes you nervous, try not to look at anyone in the eye. Instead, look above their heads. Your audience will not be able to tell, and you will not be distracted by anyone’s expression. This will help you keep your focus on your message better.
Do not make your visual aids too gaudy. These aids should only be used to help illustrate key points as an enhancement. You don’t want your message to get lost. Use visual aids of a high quality when you want to illustrate a key point. Make them appealing and colorful, but don’t go overboard.
Learn as much as possible about your audience. Tailoring your delivery and tone ensures that you make your point clearly. Failure to use an appropriate delivery style will likely cause your audience to lose interest and retain key information. For example, you might consider differences in your audience members’ age, income level, and knowledge of the subject matter.
Always leave your audience wanting more. Nothing is worse than a speaker who drones on and on for what seems like hours. Instead, get your information delivered in a timely fashion. Keep the speech within the requested time parameters. However, do not keep your speech so short that you do not give your audience the information that they desire.
If you plan to give multiple speeches within a short period of time, take care to protect your vocal cords. A hoarse or inaudible voice is not likely to sway audience members’ opinions. Sleep with a humidifier in your room, sip hot tea, and drink plenty of water throughout the day.
Include examples and stories into your speech as illustrations. This will make your audience more interested in the information you are presenting. By including information about your family through stories and illustrations, the audience will see you as a person instead of another guest speaker. Limit the stories to one or two for best results.
To improve your public speaking skills, take tips from professionals. Many public figures give moving and effective speeches, but so do other, less-prominent people. Watch people who give speeches to see what techniques work well for them. Try to incorporate those techniques to improve your own public speaking. Likewise, notice things that others do during speeches that do not work or that detract from their message, and avoid doing those things.
Ask your friends to help you prepare for public speaking. Get four or five of them together, and present your speech as you would in front of the larger group you are preparing for. It’s essential to get used to having other people in the room while you speak.
Carefully choose the words you use when presenting your speech. Technical jargon and other difficult to understand words should be avoided. If you must use a technical word, make sure that your audience understands what that word means by giving them a concise definition of the word. This will help ensure that your audience knows what you are talking about.
Enjoy your time up on the stage. Public speaking may feel scary, but if you can let go and just enjoy it, you’ll find it surprisingly liberating. You’ve got the microphone, and others are here to hear exactly what you’ve got to say. You may even find yourself smiling.
Greet the audience before the start of your speech. This is a critical whether you personally know them or not. Walk through or near the crowd if it’s a large crowd and shake some hands. Greet each individual when you speak to a group. This can make your audience feel comfortable.
Each of these tips has proven effective for individuals who once shared your apprehension. With the right mindset and motivation, anyone can deliver their message regardless of the audience size and environment. While you may not ever look forward to future public speaking engagements, you can be sure that you will no longer dread them.