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.
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.
Know your surroundings. Take a few moments when you arrive to acquaint yourself with your surroundings. If you can arrive early, go to the podium and do a soundcheck before your audience arrives. If you have visual aids, practice using them while you are orientating yourself with your surroundings.
Never drink before you have to speak in public. People under the influence tend to slur their words or forget them altogether. You may go up to podium and think you have everything under control only to realize you were incorrect. That is why you should skip drinking any type of alcohol.
When making a public speech, become acquainted with the room. See the distance that your voice will carry without a microphone. Try out any equipment you will be using. Make use of visual aids. Figure out to make eye contact with those in the audience.
Avoid fidgeting when speaking in front of an audience. Playing with your hair, chewing on your nails and other similar behaviors serve to distract the audience from listening to what you have to say. Instead of remembering your message, they may remember that you continually smoothed your hair. If you find it difficult to stop fidgeting, clasp your hands together in front of you or behind you, or place them on the lectern.
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.
Visit your hairdresser on the day of your speech. Nothing gives you more confidence than looking and feeling great. Purchase a new suit which makes you feel good to bolster your confidence levels. Audience members will take note of you when you are dressed for success and exude a sense of confidence.
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.
When preparing a speech that contains large amounts of information, don’t be too proud to use note cards. Even the most gifted orators recognize the usefulness of notes. It is preferable to quickly glance at your notes rather than cite information incorrectly or omit key points. This works especially well when the topic includes specific figures, such as dollar amounts, percentages, and dates.
Improve your public speaking by concluding with a call to action. A call to action does not have to mean giving your audience the hard sell. Instead, focus on suggesting actions that truly will benefit your audience members. Explain how your call to action will help them and make sure the action you recommend is simple and effective. Include a helpful call to action in every public speaking engagement.
When it comes time to make a speech in a public place, try to arrive early. This can help you become better acquainted with your surroundings. Getting familiar with the layout of the room, the microphones, and the other speech aids that are available in that room can help you become more relaxed before speaking.
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.
Never get up and give an impromptu speech if you can help it. It is not a good idea ever, no matter how well you know the subject. It might be possible to give an adequate speech. You may forget very important points.
If you are scheduled to make a speech, arrive at your venue at least half an hour early. This will give you a chance to set up, to practice and perhaps to relax a bit. If you rush in just a few minutes before your speech, you will not have time to prepare.
Practice as often as you can before it is time to speak to the crowd. Practice in front of a mirror and make changes if anything sounds awkward. Then, use people in your life as test subjects and ask them for a critique. Practicing your speech helps you perfect the words and the delivery.
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.