More likely than not, there will come a point in your life where you have to partake in public speaking. For some, it’s no big deal and comes naturally. For others, it’s a scary experience that takes a lot of courage to work up to.
Speaking in public can cause loads of stress and anxiety, and in some fields, it’s a regular requirement. According to Forbes, roughly 80 percent of people dislike public speaking and experience anxiety because of it.
If it’s something you struggle with, as many do, it can be difficult to practice confidence and self-assurance. For many, it’s nervewracking having so much attention on themselves, but luckily, there are ways to overcome this fear and even succeed at it.
Let’s look at a few tips that are sure to help you improve your public speaking skills and bring you new opportunities.
Prepare your material
If you want to avoid standing in front of an audience with nothing to say, then it’s best you prepare your material well in advance. The worst thing you could do to yourself is to wing it and hope for the best. It’s the easiest way to confuse your audience and feel like an inadequate speaker.
Give yourself enough time to put your presentation and notes together. You want everything to flow nice and smooth so you have a better connection with your listeners and can grab their attention. Add images, humor, videos, and anything else that enhances your speech. If you fail to keep listeners interested, then it might be because you aren’t giving them what they want.
Practice, practice, practice
Knowing what you’re going to say during your speech is one thing, but it’s another to perform it well. There are several factors that go into an interesting public speech, but the most important thing is to practice until you feel confident to do it in front of others.
Start by practicing to yourself in front of a mirror. Take note of your body language and how you present yourself. Do you have trouble keeping eye contact with the audience as you continue looking down at your notes? Is the tone too serious or too lighthearted for the material?
Ask someone you trust to be your listener and practice your speech in front of them. Their honesty can give you further insight into how you can improve your speaking skills. It also helps you notice things that you may not have otherwise.
Watch great speakers you know
A great way to emulate great speakers is to study them. Clearly, they’re doing something right if they have large followings of people who trust what they say. There’s a lot you can learn from someone based on watching their craft.
Look up videos of speakers you admire and want to be like. Tony Robbins and Eric Thomas are popular examples of speakers that people love to listen to because they provide value to their audiences. Think about what valuable points you have in your notes and use them to engage your listeners.
They don’t need to be videos about the same material that you’ll present. Whether they’re informational, such as how to create an online store, or more inspirational, such as how to be more confident, it doesn’t matter. As long as you study the speaker’s behavior, body language, and other factors, all of that will still aid you in your presentation. Pay attention to user reviews and comments to see what they liked or disliked about a public speech. Their honesty will tell you a lot.
Speak with your audience in mind
Imagine preparing a speech that’s ill-suited to your audience’s interests. It would be difficult to grab their attention or enthuse them with your material. It’s crucial that your speech aligns with your target listeners and caters to them in some way.
Consider who your speech is geared towards and how that affects your overall presentation. Think about what your audience hopes to learn from you and what problems they want to solve. Make a list of important qualities, needs, and questions your listeners have so you can incorporate them into your lecture.
Begin by introducing yourself and setting a positive, friendly tone with your audience. If you can keep their attention from the beginning and make yourself personable, it’s easier for them to receive your message.
Speaking in public doesn’t have to feel like the end of the world. Although it can be nervewracking, it’s a crucial skill to have in most fields and can help you build your professional reputation. If you practice, prepare, and know who you’re speaking to, you have a high chance of delivering an excellent speech.