How to become amazing at public speaking
Posted by: Alex
Published: Friday, November 11th, 2011
Did you know that public speaking tops the list of phobias for most people? It’s normal to be nervous and have a lot of anxiety when speaking in public. In a way, it’s less normal not to have nerves or anxiety.
The fear that can go hand in hand with public speaking will do all kinds of unpleasant things to you – make you sweat, affect your voice, your heart may race and butterflies can invade your stomach. When this happens it is no uncommon that most people stop thinking about getting their message across in a compelling and interesting way, instead all they think about is getting off the “stage” as quickly as possible. For some people this is the worst possible stress they can be put under.
Public speaking may not be comfortable, but take our word for it, nerves are good. Nerves will keep you awake and ensure you don’t get too complacent. And If channelled well, nerves can make the difference between giving a humdrum presentation and giving one that keeps people listening.
Here are some tips that will help you to become amazing a public speaking in no time:
1. Know your material
Pick a topic you are interested in. Know more about it than you include in your speech. Use humor, personal stories and conversational language – that way you won’t easily forget what to say.
2. Practice. Practice. Practice!
We’ve all heard this one before: practice makes perfect. And it is true. The more you do something, the better you become at it and the more comfortable you feel with it too. Rehearse out loud with any equipment you plan on using. Revise as necessary. Work to control filler words and then practice, pause and breathe.
3. Focus on anything but yourself
It’s very tempting to keep focused on how you’re feeling, especially if you’re feeling really uncomfortable. You’ll start to notice every bead of sweat. To make your nerves work for you, you need to focus on just about anything other than yourself. You can distract yourself by paying attention to the environment in which you’re speaking and seeing how you can make it work for you. Or you could pay attention to the audience and this can help you trick your mind into not noticing what’s going on with you.
4. Assume the best
It is common for people to fear that people won’t like them and this breads all kinds of anxiety issues. Rather than assuming people don’t like you, give them the benefit of the doubt that they do. They aren’t an anonymous sea of faces, but real people. So to help you gain more confidence when speaking in public, think of ways to engage your audience. Remember, even if they aren’t speaking, you can still have a two-way conversation.
Begin by addressing the audience. It buys you time and calms your nerves. Pause, smile and count to three before saying anything. (“One one-thousand, two one-thousand, three one-thousand. Pause. Begin.) Transform nervous energy into enthusiasm.
Here is a helpful video with some extra tips.