Speaking in public often falls at the top of the list of things that people fear the most. For certain people, it is worse than death. You should be prepared before speaking in public. Use the following tips to help you with speaking in public.
Make sure that you stay focused once you get out there and start talking. Your message will not be received well if you go too far off topic. Do everything you can to stay on the original topic, or you may risk scaring away a large portion of your audience.
Public speaking needs to be taken seriously. You can’t just get up and speak and expect that everyone will hang on to your every word automatically. Getting the attention of an audience isn’t always easy and keeping it can be even harder. You can almost liken a speech to giving a dramatic performance.
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.
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.
Practice your speech repeatedly. Repeated practice sessions can help you make key adjustments. Try to maintain calm breathing during the speech. Leave time for any audience interruptions that may occur. If at all possible, you should practice giving your speech using the equipment that will be used.
Do not use a laser pointer to run over words as you read them from a screen. This gives your audience the idea that you think they are incapable of reading for themselves. Once they begin to feel insulted, it will be much harder for you to convince them to listen to you.
An excellent way to calm nerves before public speaking is by breathing deeply. Deep breaths that are taken slowly in and out can calm you. Try inhaling through the nose and exhaling through the mouth while counting to five. Do this approximately five times to feel a difference in how calm you feel.
It is normal to feel nervous when giving a public speech. However, no matter how nervous you feel, you cannot let others notice. If you find yourself nervous, try to imagine yourself giving the speech to someone you know. It will calm you down and allow you to successfully give your speech.
Do not be afraid to let your audience know that you have no idea of the answer to some of their questions. People will respect your honesty and understand that you are human. This is much better than rambling on trying to convince them you know what is going on when you don’t.
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.
Practice making your speech every day. Doing so will increase the confidence you have, as you will be very familiar with the material. Even if you have memorized your speech, take your note cards with you to the podium. This will help if you stumble over any part of your speech or forget an important point.
Try to find humor in the situation if things do not go as planned. There are many variables when you speak in public, which means that there are many opportunities for things to go wrong. The microphone or projector may not work, there may be an interruption in power or someone may enter the room in the midst of your speech. Try to take things in stride. Taking things too seriously can result in you having a meltdown, so try to laugh off any issues that may arise.
If you can, look over the room and environment where you will be making a speech. Check how big it is, how good the acoustics are and get comfortable in the front of the room. The more familiar you are with room, the more at ease you will be when you have to make your speech.
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.
To effectively communicate key data points, supplement your oral presentation with visuals. Reciting numbers and figures is more difficult than conveying words and concepts. Many audience members have trouble visualizing statistics and appreciate simple infographics, such as charts, tables, and graphs. You can also print this data and distribute copies to audience members beforehand.
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.
As previously indicated, public speaking is usually cited as a top fear for many people, sometimes viewed as more fearful than death itself. However, you need not let your own fear of speaking in public grip you. Utilize the information and advice contained in this article, and gain control of yourself in order to speak confidently in public.