Public speaking is a common phobia that many people have, but it’s something that you will have to do at any job. Whether it’s for a presentation, during a meeting or for a conference, you are going to find yourself in a situation where you need to have good public speaking skills. For some people, public speaking is scary. A room full of eyes staring at you while you’re standing alone in the front can make a lot of people sweat, shake and clam up. With practice and skill though, you can become more comfortable speaking in front of a crowd. Here are some tips on how to overcome public speaking.
“Practice makes perfect,” is the common saying, and nowhere is that more apparent than in the realm of public speaking. You want to practice your speech before the big day- and practice it a lot. Don’t just practice it in your head, though. Rehearse it out loud in front of a mirror or in front of a good friend to get a sense of how you sound. Write how you talk instead of how you formally write. We don’t usually speak how we write, so if you write how you talk, you’ll be more comfortable with the material you have to present. The key to a good speech to make it seem more like a conversation between you and the audience. This will help you get the audience more engaged and will prompt them to listen to what you are saying. You don’t want your audience to lose interest in what you have to say. Pull the audience in with personal anecdotes and solid facts.
Make your notes big and bold so you don’t have trouble glancing at them during your speech. Include helpful directions like adding pauses where you need to pause. Many people forget to pause and breathe, and this makes their speech sound like one long-running monologue that doesn’t give the audience time to take in the information being presented.
While you’re giving the speech, try not to focus on your anxiety since that is what will bring you down. Focus full-heartedly on your speech and the message you’re trying to get across. Like Toastmasters International states, don’t apologize for your nervousness because chances are the audience doesn’t even notice. Also, remember that the audience isn’t there to judge you. They’re there to listen in on what you have to say and they’re there to support you. You know the audience- they’re your coworkers and your boss- and you’ve talked to them before so don’t feel like the audience is filled with strangers.
If you mess up, just pick up where you left off and start again. Don’t dwell on the mistakes you’re making and instead stay focused on what you have to say. If looking at the audience causes more anxiety, stare above their heads or focus on the slides. The only thing that is stopping you from giving a good speech is yourself. Drown out your anxieties by telling yourself that you’re doing good. Encourage yourself during the speech and stay focused.
Did you ever have to give a speech at work and completely bombed it? What did you learn from the experience? Tell us about it in the comments section below!
IMAGE: Courtesy of Public Speaking Activities