Does the idea of giving a speech make your hands sweat and your heart race? Do you hide in fear when in situations where public speaking may be required? There really is no need to continue your dread of speaking before others as long as you are prepared to take the following advice seriously.
Love your topic. To help you be able to talk confidently when speaking in front of others, choose a topic that you know a lot about. Include tidbits of information that is not commonly known to keep your audience engaged. Finally, speak in a conversational tone to help you remain calm and composed.
In order to make the best presentation when speaking publicly, you must prepare thoroughly. Know what you’re going to say. Take time to research, if needed. Write down the information you plan to say. Practice your speech until you know it by heart. Being prepared will give you the confidence you need to be an effective public speaker.
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.
Become familiar with the environment before giving a public speech. See if your voice can reach the back of the room if there is no microphone. Use whatever equipment is available and get familiar with it. Learn the proper use of visual aids that you are incorporating. Also, figure out how much eye contact you should make.
It is important to realize that most people really want you to succeed. The most important thing is to deliver relevant, interesting information. To help keep your speech entertaining either tell a story about yourself or a joke to warm the crowd up. This will not only warm the crowd, but it will also allow you to relax.
Project your voice when you speak in front of an audience. This is particularly true if you do not have the benefit of a microphone. You want everyone in the room to be able to hear you, so do not be afraid to speak as loudly as necessary to accomplish that. There is no point in making a speech that most of the audience cannot hear.
It is important to give off a confident vibe when giving a speech. Therefore, avoid looking at the floor, ceiling, or your notes too often during the speech. Instead, look into the eyes of your audience. They will realize you are not only confident, but that you have prepared yourself, as well.
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 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.
Eye contact is critical during public speaking engagements. Although you may not be able to make eye contact with every member of a large audience, your efforts will not go unnoticed. Before your speech, identify key members of the audience and their assigned seating, if possible. This enables you to make the greatest impact on the most important audience members.
Never apologize, even if you feel nervous and like you are making mistakes. You may feel like a fool, but they may not see it. If you make mistakes, correct them and move on. You don’t need to apologize for anything.
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.
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.
Think positively about your speech. Feeling nervous is perfectly fine. Speaking in public is the number one fear identified by most polls. It is not okay if you are thinking negatively. If you’re certain you can’t get that important speech delivered with gusto, you probably cannot. Think about succeeding, and you’ll be more likely to succeed.
Avoid creating physical barriers between yourself and your audience. While you may feel more comfortable hiding behind a podium, this limits your effectiveness. Audience members may tire of keeping their eyes glued to one spot, and they are likely to lose interest. By moving around during your speech, you hold the audience’s interest and appear more dynamic.
Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you fled rather than risk having to speak in front of others? If so, you need to take control. Use the information and guidance presented above whenever necessary and make a conscious decision to become a skilled, confident public speaker staring now.