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.
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.
The way you look can determine how well you do at public speaking. If you are not well-groomed or dressed at your best, you are not going to feel very confident with yourself. This lack of confidence may cause you more fear and could mess up your whole speech. So, be sure to look your best!
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.
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.
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.
Make sure you practice your speech every single day. This will help you increase your confidence. Even after you’ve memorized the speech, bring the notes with you when you take the podium. This helps if you forget something since you can peek down at them for a refresher.
After you have written your speech, be sure to practice it until you have memorized it. Work in front of your mirror so that you can work on gestures and expressions. Ask those close to you to allow you to deliver the speech to them and give you feedback. They can add suggestions for improvements.
Utilize note cards. Though you should know your content well, having notes can be beneficial if you lose track of where you are. Your entire speech need not be written out, but make note cards on the key points to make sure you do not forget anything.
Before you get ready for your speech, make sure you know the material. This is easy when you are actually interested in the topic you have chosen. Try learning more about the topic than what you actually say in your speech. This will help you add some useful additional information. it can also help you better answer questions.
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 using slides or other visual aids that include printed messages, assume your audience knows how to read. You can paraphrase the message on the slide, but don’t just read it aloud. This wastes your time and insults your audience’s intelligence. By presenting written material and supporting it with a slightly different spoken version, your message will be more memorable.
Be prepared for the unexpected. While you hope that nothing will happen to ruin your speech, try to plan for any contingencies. What will you do if one of your audio visual aids does not work? What if the microphone fails? How will you handle audience interruptions or questions? Having a plan in place to handle possible issues makes it more likely that your public speaking experience will go well.
Be sure to make good eye contact with your audience. If you are really prepared and know your speech well, this should be easy. Look around the room in a relaxed way. Make eye contact and connect with individuals here and there throughout the audience. In this way, people will feel that you are really addressing them.
Start your speech off with a good story to establish audience connection. This can be a personal experience, a relevant news item, or a hypothetical situation. Using human elements to enliven your speech will gain the listeners’ attention. Make certain that you share information that is appropriate for the audience.
Know about your audience before giving any speech. Each audience expects a different thing from you. For example, colleagues will want to learn something from your speech. Family members might look for a little entertainment from your speech. Despite the audience, give them exactly what they want.
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.
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.