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.
While speaking in public, you cannot assume that people are going to understand what you are talking about. You have to get their attention and hold on to it. Public speaking is a performance, and it takes work to get real results.
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.
Do not allow anything to distract you while you are speaking in public. It is crucial that you don’t participate in activities like twiddling your thumbs or jingling keys. This will give your audience the idea that you would rather be doing something else than be there talking to them.
Make sure that the beginning of your speech is a moment to relax. Greet and address your audience. Then pause for three seconds. This gives them a chance to focus on you, while you get a moment to transform your nervous energy into enthusiasm for the material you are about to deliver.
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.
An excellent way to calm nerves before public speaking is by breathing deeply. Taking a few deep breaths and exhaling completely before you begin your speech will help you get your nerves under control. Breath in and out very slowly, counting to four or five on each inhale and exhale. Do this approximately five times to feel a difference in how calm you feel.
Do not chew gum or eat when you are making a speech. The chewing is unprofessional and distracts your audience. It is permissible to sip from a glass of water occasionally so that your throat does not get dry. Keep that to a minimum too, as it serves as a distraction from your message.
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.
Take a look at the venue before you make your speech. See how big the room is, how many seats there are, and what the lighting is like. You will feel less nervous when you know what environment you will be dealing with. Also, try standing at the podium to get a feel of the stage.
It is a good idea to use slides as a visual aid, but do not allow this to be the largest part of your presentation. If people notice that there is more on the slides than what is coming from your mouth, they will lose interest before you know it.
Practice meditation to prepare for your speech. Imagine yourself doing well, feeling comfortable, speaking clearly and enjoying yourself. Imagine that your audience is interested and appreciates what you are saying. When you take the time to imagine a good experience, you greatly increase your chances of actually having a good experience.
Be sure to use appropriate visual aids to make your speech more interesting. A picture or an object is worth a thousand words and can add depth and dimension to your presentation. Be creative in your choices of visual aids. Photos, paintings, sculpture, souvenirs, charts, graphs and many other types of objects can help you get your point across clearly.
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 have to give a speech in front of an audience, practice in front of a mirror. Certain hand gestures and expressions can emphasize on a point that you are trying to make. Watching yourself in a mirror can also help you see things about your appearance that you can improve.
Believe in yourself. If you think you will do well, you are more likely to do well. If you think you will fall flat on your face, that is something that is more likely to occur. Try to banish negative thoughts from your mind and envision yourself delivering a perfect speech.
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.
Grab your audience from the get-go with an interesting fact or statistic. Avoid lengthy greetings or excessive thanks of the person who has introduced you. Jump right in and deliver your material with confidence and conviction. This will keep your audience’s attention and make an excellent, memorable and lasting impression.
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.