Public speaking is a common fear for most of us. It is natural to feel frightened the first time you have to speak in front of a gathering. Improving the public speaking skill is very essential to be a more confident person.
The anxiety faced before speaking in front of a crowd can be dealt with in many ways.
Public Speaking Tips
1. Practice :
Great speakers practice their speeches beforehand. Practice out loud with a recording device or record a video and then watch it yourself , identify your mistakes and find ways to improve it. You can also practice it in front of a friend or a well wisher or a family member and ask for feedback.
2. Talk about what you know
Choose a topic for your talk or presentation that you like and know a lot about. Always chose topics which you are comfortable at. Your passion for the topic will be felt by the people in front of you and it will develop a connect between you and your audience.
Mentally imagine yourself as a confident person. Confidently deliver your speech. Imagine feeling free of anxiety. Imagination is a powerful tool for changing the way that you feel. Successful athletes use this strategy to improve performance in competitions.
Watch this video to know you are not alone undergoing public speaking fear ➔ Be a more confident public speaker.
4. Visit the place
If you have access to the place or room where you will be speaking, take the time to visit in advance and get used to standing at the front of the room. Make arrangements for any audio-visual equipment and practice standing in the exact spot where you will deliver your speech.
5. Share how you feel
If you are speaking in front of a high school or college class, meet with your teacher or professor ahead of time and describe your public speaking fear.
If you’re in a working environment, share your fears with your parents, a colleague or your partner. Sometimes simply sharing how you feel can make it easier to overcome the problem.
6. Realize the audience are on your side
Think about a time when you have been an audience member and the person delivering the speech or presentation was noticeably nervous. Did you think less of that person? More likely, you felt sympathetic and wanted to make that person more comfortable by smiling or nodding.
Always remember other people in the crowd generally want you to succeed and feel comfortable. If for some reason the audience is not on your side or you experience bullying , make sure to discuss this with a parent, teacher, or guidance counselor or friends or your partner. Sharing makes things better.
7. Be proactive
Volunteer to speak in front of a crowd as often as possible. Be the first one to raise your hand when a question is asked. Your confidence will grow with every public speaking experience.
8. Concentrate on your message
Concentrate on the main message of your speech or presentation and make it your goal to deliver that message to the audience. When you focus on the task at hand, anxiety is less likely to get out of control.
9. Organize your talk
Structure your talk so that the audience know what to expect. Every speech should have an introduction, a body, and a conclusion.
10. Observe other speakers
Take the time to watch other speakers who are good at what they do. Practice imitating their style and confidence.
11. Narrate stories
Stories catch the attention of the audience and deliver a message in a more meaningful way than facts and figures. Whenever possible, use a story to illustrate a point in your talk. It makes it more interesting and the audience do not get distracted.
12. Grab the attention
Most of people in the crowd will pay attention for the first 60 seconds. Grab their attention during that time. Start with an interesting example or a story that relates to your topic.
13. Choose one main message
Focus on one central theme and your classmates will learn more. Tie different parts of your talk to the main theme to support your overall message. Trying to cover too much ground can leave other students feeling overwhelmed.
14. Be humorous
Laughter is a great way to relax both you and the audience, Telling jokes can be a great icebreaker at the beginning of a speech. Practice the timing and delivery of your jokes beforehand and ask a friend for feedback. Make sure that they are appropriate for your audience before you begin.
15. Do not use fillers
Words such as “basically”, “like”, and “ummmm” don’t add anything to your speech. Practice being silent when you feel like using these fillers.
16. Create your own style
Imitating good speakers will help in the initial days but for the long run as a confident speaker, work on developing your own personal style as a public speaker.
Pull in your own personality into your speaking style and you will feel more comfortable in front of the crowd. Telling personal stories, experiences that is related to the topic are a great way to let the audience to get to know you better.
17. Focus on your tone
Vary your tone, volume and speed. Varying the pitch, high or low, volume, Loud or subtle, and speed, fast or slow. Focusing on all this keeps your audience engaged and interested in what you say.
18. Have a friendly face
If you are scared or anxious, imagine your friend or the person you are comfortable talking to and do your speech. Talk like you are talking to your comfort-zoned person
19. Do not be sorry
You may make mistakes while you talk. If you make them, do not offer apologies and make a bad face. Chances are that the audience didn’t notice it. If it is a fact, you can correct them by saying a sorry. Do not dwell on errors that only you noticed
Finally, one important tip that helps you the most even apart from public speaking,
20. Always Smile
As the quote says, ‘Smile is the curve that sets everything straight’. Be a warm speaker. Let it fail, you smile.
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