Being a strong public speaker is a great skill to have not only in the business world; but, in your everyday life.
Glossophobia, or the fear of public speaking, affects about 75% of people. When your heart starts to pound, your hands start to sweat, and you feel like you’re about to pass out- that’s when you know you need a few tips and tricks to overcome your fear.
It’s okay to be nervous. Even the biggest extroverts get the jitters from time to time. The trick here is realizing that nearly everyone gets nervous and it is completely normal. You shouldn’t be letting a few nerves or sweaty palms stop you from speaking confidently. By prepping and having a realistic expectation of your speech you can stop being nervous and start being a better public speaker.
Outline, Don’t Script
When you write down your speech word for word it can come off as too scripted and unnatural. When you write down a few key points, your language will be more natural, your eye contact will improve, and it will feel more like a conversation with the audience. The purpose is to serve as an aid to your speech so that it flows smoothly while being able to communicate all of your ideas, not just read everything from a sheet of paper.
Watch Yourself in The Mirror
Practicing in front of a mirror at home will allow you to see your facial expression, gestures and body movements. This can ease your nerves and allow you to see what your audience will be seeing since your body language alone can make you appear more confident. If you are swaying, crossing your arms, or playing with your hair throughout your speech, the audience will pay more attention to that, rather than your speech.
Practice Practice Practice
Just winging it doesn’t work for even the most experienced public speaker. Not only should you be practicing in front of a mirror but you should also be practicing in front of a small group of family members or friends. When you are in front of people you know, you will start to get more comfortable and confident with the words you are saying and the topic you are presenting on. Communicating to a group is like exercising a muscle- the more you do it, the more confident you will feel.
Engage the Audience
Engaging the audience is arguably just as important as the information in your presentation. Getting the audience involved will keep their attention and keep them interested in what you are saying. You can do this in a few ways such as asking questions, telling a joke, making eye contact with various people, or telling a personal story that relates to the topic. Typically, the average attention span of an audience member only lasts for five to ten minutes so being able to keep them interacting and attentive past this point is extremely important.
Being a great public speaker doesn’t come naturally to most, but by using a few of our tricks you’ll be on your way to a great speech in no time. The more you push yourself to speak in front of others, the more confident you will be in your skills.