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.
The tone of your speech should depend on who you are giving it to. For instance, if your speech is work-related, your speech should be professional. On the other hand, if you are around friends and have to make a speech, you can be more personal. Base your whole speech on your audience.
Some people prepare their notes for speaking in public by using a tablet or other device; however, this is not necessarily a good idea. Murphy’s law is sure to strike and leave you with a dead battery, a stolen device or some other catastrophe. Be safe and write your remarks on index cards as well as keeping them on your mobile device.
Keep going if you accidentally omit a certain sentence from your speech. Stopping somewhere in the middle to re-add it can ruin the entire speech. The audience has not seen your speech, so they will remain unaware that you missed something unless you tell them.
To become a better public speaker, talk about what you know. Focus your presentation on the areas of the speech topic that you are familiar with. Your confidence will be noticed by your audience. Before your speech, make sure to research any areas in which your thinking is fuzzy or unclear. This research will enable you to speak clearly and simply. So, do your research and watch your confidence and effectiveness as a public speaker soar.
Avoid alcohol before you deliver your speech. It might seem like it could help to embolden you, but it often works against you. You don’t want to risk forgetting what you want to say just because you decided to have a drink or two prior to your speech.
When you know ahead of time that you will be speaking in public, dress appropriately. You can dress down if you are speaking to a group of children at a summer camp, but dress more formally if you are making remarks at a business luncheon. Avoid flashy colors and distracting accessories. You want the audience to pay attention to your message rather than to your clothing or jewelry.
Make sure to focus on getting your audience’s attention early on. If possible, meet some of them prior to your speech. You will be more effective if you have already made a positive impact on them.
Prepare with note cards if you need to. You should certainly memorize your speech, but it is helpful to have notes with you as well. Don’t worry about having the full text of your speech with you, just be concerned about the important points you’re going to make so you can make sure you don’t forget any of them.
Be sure to practice your speech well in advance. Practice often so that you can deliver your thoughts naturally and smoothly. Use a timer to perfect the length of your speech. In this way, you will neither leave your audience hanging with time to spare, nor force them to stay longer than they wish.
Don’t leap right into your topic. Be sure to start your speech with a nice greeting for your audience. This will help put everyone at ease. It also gives you a chance to settle into position and prepare yourself to speak. Of course, it is also simply the most polite thing to do.
It is a good idea to use slides as a visual aid, but do not allow this to be the largest part of your presentation. If people notice that there is more on the slides than what is coming from your mouth, they will lose interest before you know it.
If you have to give a speech in front of an audience, practice in front of a mirror. Certain hand gestures and expressions can emphasize on a point that you are trying to make. Watching yourself in a mirror can also help you see things about your appearance that you can improve.
Visualize your speech before the big day. Have a visual of giving the speech and seeing how the audience reacts to what you say. Watch yourself speak and imagine a positive reaction for more confidence.
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.
Keep things in perspective. Things do not always go as planned, but that does not necessarily mean that your speech is not effective or well-received. Whether you trip over a cord or forget your next line, it is not the end of the world. If you do not make a big deal of it, most people will probably not even remember that it happened. Regain your poise, and continue with your speech.
Create a simple outline for better public presentations. In public speaking your aim is clear communication. This does not happen by chance. A simple outline should include an introduction, a body and a conclusion. The introduction should capture attention and present your thesis. The body should include your major ideas. The conclusion should repeat your thesis and end with a call to action. Using an outline will ensure that your ideas are presented in an understandable manner.
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.