Many have a fear of the dark or of heights, while others have a fear of public speaking and other presentation related topics. It’s important to keep in mind with practice, confidence, and perseverance the impossible can be the possible. Anyone can become a public speaking pro!
Fear is simply a state of mind, a fight-or-flight response, and it can be overcome! The squad at CGS has put together 6 tips to help you become a better public speaker.
Speaking to large crowds can be overwhelming but the more you practice the better you will be at it. While some people are born to handle the pressures of public speaking others have to learn the trait. Whichever category you fall into, there’s always room for improvement!
Practice to Prepare
Everyone gets nervous before they do something that calls attention directly to them. Whether it’s sweaty palms, or the fast pounding of your heart beat, your signs may be obvious to the onlookers.
A positive way of handling those nerves is to keep in mind the adrenaline rush that makes you sweat also makes you more alert and ready to give your best performance.
Practicing what you’re going to do or say before the big day has been known to help. The more you prepare, the more you will be comfortable and confident to give the best performance.
Try getting a small group of friends or family together to practice in front of them. Preparing by yourself is great, but having a small crowd will be more effective at calming your nerves.
Know Your Audience
It’s very important to know what type of audience you will be speaking in front of so you can prepare accordingly. Knowing your audience will help you craft your message. Are you presenting to a group of your peers? Are you pitching to a new client?
When you understand your audience, you can tailor your message to hit home with them. Learning as much as possible about your listeners beforehand will allow you to prepare your presentation accordingly, as opposed to changing it after all of the practice has been done.
Let Your Personality Shine
No two people have ever been created to be identical, so it’s important to let your personality shine through. Being yourself, and not just a talking head will engage the audience. The more you are yourself while public speaking, the more the audience will trust you and the message you are talking about.
The audience enjoys relating to the person on stage, so being yourself will make you seem real, and personable. As you let your personality shine through, your message will come across as more credible.
In the case of public speaking, it’s key to grab your audience’s attention in the beginning, compared to holding the best message for last.
If you don’t engage your audience from the start, you run the risk of them not listening to your message. Use a startling statistic, an interesting anecdote, or a concise quotation in the beginning to engage the audience.
Try to stay away from starting your speech like, “Today I’m going to give a speech about….” The audience likely already knows what you will be discussing, and the silence from the audience will make you more nervous.
As you start your speech strong you also want to end even stronger, so conclude your speech with a summary and a strong statement that your audience is sure to remember.
Organize Your Material
One skill you should use when becoming a public speaker is organization. When you are delivering your speech, it’s important that it flows naturally. In order for your speech to flow, you must have organized talking points that move you from one point to the next.
There should be a beginning, middle, and end… kind of similar to a movie or book. Write down the topic, general purpose, specific purpose, central idea, and main points. The first 30 seconds is probably the most influential when giving a speech, so organizing your topics is essential to a successful delivery.
It’s good to have points and notes, but try not to read from those flashcards for the duration of the speech. Reading from notes, a script or a slide fractures the interpersonal connection.
Audiences love speakers who are engaged, make eye contact and aren’t reading from their notes the whole time. The more you practice what you’re going to say, the easier it will be to simply glance at your notecards to make sure you’re staying on track. A brief outline can serve to jog your memory and keep you on task.
Related: How to Give a Powerful Presentation
Keep these tips in mind for your next public speaking engagement, and let us know how they worked for you!
Do you have a routine you follow when prepping for a speech? If so, what is it?
Public speaking can be intimidating but keep in mind everyone who does participates in public speaking is just like you… nervous and wanting to do their best! Share your public speaking tips and experiences with other readers by leaving a comment below!