There comes a time in every person’s life that public speaking is necessary. Whether you need to make a speech at school, make a sales pitch at work or need to speak to your colleagues at a meeting, public speaking is a part of life. Make the most of the situation with these tips and tricks.
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.
When you are speaking in public, there is usually a time frame that you need to stick to. Make sure that you get to your key points before your time is up. Otherwise, you will have wasted all of our time since the audience will not have received the message you were trying to deliver.
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.
When you arrive at the podium take a deep breath and engage the audience with your eyes and smile. Take a moment to calm your nerves and use your nervous energy as a way to energize your speech. Allow your audience to feel your excitement for what you are talking about.
One key to a successful speech is to make it an appropriate length. Basically, when a speech is too short, you may not be giving all the information the audience is looking for. On the other hand, if your speech is too long, your audience may become bored and you may lose their attention.
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.
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.
Don’t beat yourself up if you make a mistake during your presentation. Unless the information given wrongly is important do not correct your mistake. Instead, continue on with your speech like nothing has happened. If you need to correct the mistake you made, apologize and correct the mistake and continue on.
Reconsider having a few drinks to loosen yourself up. You may be so nervous before the speech or at such a fun event that you drink a little too much. Some of the most embarrassing speeches are the fault of having a little too much to drink before making the speech.
Focus your energy on your information and audience when doing public speaking. You don’t want to focus on your anxiety and stress when speaking. The point of your speech is to provide information that is important to you and to make sure you deliver it in a way that keeps the audience engaged.
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.
Visit your venue a few days in advance to get the lay of the land. Being familiar with the room where you will speak will make everything easier and more comfortable. On the day of the event, be sure to arrive early to socialize with members of your audience and begin creating a connection.
If you are using cue cards, only write down simple sound bites that will help you keep on track. Don’t write down your entire speech. If you do, you may end up simply reading your speech off of those cards. That makes for a very boring event to say the least.
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.
If you are so nervous during speeches that you cannot look at your audience, try the following trick. Instead of looking into the faces of the people you are speaking to, look at the tops of their heads. Keep looking at different head-tops and your audience will think you are looking right at them as you speak.
If you are making a business presentation, you may be understandably nervous. A lot may be riding on your success. Be sure to know your material well. Think of ways to make technical information easier for laymen to understand. Be sure your presentation has a strong call to action that will enlist the interest and cooperation of others.
As stated in the introduction, there will come a time when you need to speak to a crowd of people. No matter the reason is or the size of the crowd, it is important that you do well. Follow the simple tips listed above to increase your public speaking skills.