The feeling of being nervous to speak in public is a common phenomenon in many of us and getting on the stage becomes just another fearful activity. Sometimes some people judge or pull our legs when we stammer or cannot complete our sentences where a situation of these kinds turns out to be extremely embarrassing in front of the public or the audience. The fear of speaking in public can hamper our careers or the ability to achieve our goals because no doubt how many good ideas and thoughts we carry the moment we cannot deliver it to the audience the entire thing counts to be null and void.
No human being is perfect and no time is late enough to learn and gain knowledge on something. Everything has to be given time similarly the process of public speaking also needs time to be understood and practiced with slow paces to get a hold of it. The comfort of giving speech does not come in one go it is a matter of patience and dedication to learn and give full attention to gain the art of public speaking. Generally, business meetings or talking on a public platform might give us chills and trembles which are often difficult to overcome. So if you are interested in public speaking but hesitate to speak up or put forth your ideas then below are some of the tips that will help you to gain confidence and enhance your public speaking skills.
Understand your audience
Different messages are for different types of audiences. Ideas depend upon the age of the target audience or sometimes even the nature of the job or the place they live in. Before crafting the message you must know your audience and do proper research on which type of audience you want to cater to and form your speech accordingly. Learning about your listeners will give you an insight about what kind of topic you would want to talk about and this will help you in effective choice of words, level of information, and the kind of speech that can inspire and motivate the public.
Prepare and Practice
Nervousness is normal when you get up on the stage or see a lot of people looking at you in awe to listen to your speech. Hearts often pound, hands shake and words do not form inside the mouth but all these things do not imply you are going to perform badly on the stage. Anxiety is a common issue in public speakers which also at times make you alert to be ready to perform well and overcoming it is not as tough as it seems to be. The best way to get rid of public anxiety is to prepare the topic you want to speak and the moment you are ready with your notes start practicing in front of the mirror. Record yourself, listen to what you speak and practice as many times as you can.
Organize the material
Organizing your material is helpful to attain an effective speech. You can create a framework, list out the purpose, idea, and main points. Always remember to grab the attention of the audience in the first 30 seconds for a better experience.
Maintain connection with the audience
The interpersonal connection with the audience often gets lost when you read a script or speak using slides. Maintaining eye contact with the audience and giving proper expressions keep the public interested in your speech. This also helps you to keep a focus on yourself and the message you are conveying to the audience. Creating a brief outline of the topic beforehand can be useful in remembering the basic points you want to talk about.
Usage of effective language, humor, and stories
To grab the attention of your audience the use of effective language that can give a personal touch to the speech is essential. Often at times, a long speech might get people bored. To avoid such situations a funny narrative can be included or sometimes even a story that the audience can relate to.
Focus on voice and gestures
Voice modulation is an important aspect of public speaking. The tone of your speech, intonation, and expressions will portray your idea to the audience. Speaking in a single tone might make the speechless interesting to listen to. Nonverbal communication often speaks a lot therefore correct gestures will make your speech a success. Nervous gestures might call for less effective delivery of your thoughts and ideas.
Let the real personality come through
Be yourself in any kind of communication. Don’t let your personality get stuck while achieving a successful speech. The audience generally connects to the speaker who comes forth with the real self and does not portray what he is not. You can gain the trust of your listeners once they understand the person you are and the ideas you portray comes naturally from within you.
Wisely use audio-visual aids
Too many audio-visual aids can break the connection with your audience. Wise usage of these will bring the focus on your speech and the audio and visuals should be used only to clarify your content and concept to the public and capture their audience in between.
Grab attention at the start and close with an energetic end
The audience enjoys hearing a speech that begins with an interesting narrative or quotation. A simple start to the speech can give make the audience disinterested to listen further. The end should be so dynamic as to conclude it with a summary or a strong statement that the audience is sure to remember.
Get a style that works for you
There are various events you have to speak on and each event has its style. Some events require a written speech and some don’t. Although events that require a script continuously looking down can give the audience a wrong impression of the speaker. It is necessary to read the script thoroughly and memorize it to avoid any unwanted circumstances.
Practice with distractions
Once you are fully ready with the content and know it try to rehearse with a few distractions for instance you can switch on the television or listen to songs just to understand how well prepared you are with the speech.
Find opportunities to speak
The more you practice the more you get a hold of it. Though practicing alone is your comfort space but rehearsing in front of a group of people will make you more confident and better at delivering the speech to the audience.
Speak in front of a mirror
No one will know you better than yourself. When you speak in front of a mirror you can take note of your facial expressions and gestures and improve them by practicing regularly. Expressions hold a major impact on the entire delivery of the speech.
Take long pauses
As we all know the significance of speaking slowly while giving a speech but another important thing to focus on is not to forget to take long pauses in between. Pauses are useful in emphasizing the key points of the topic which will effectively connect you to the audience.
Don’t exceed the allotted time
Sometimes when you are doubtful about remembering the speech going under time is a good option. Going over times shows you are not well prepared and it counts among poor speaking etiquette and disrespect to the agenda of the event.
Project as much confidence as you can and feel like you own it. Make eye contact with your audience and grab their attention.
Mentally prepare yourself
Get some time to yourself before going on the stage. Calm your mind, prepare yourself and clear your head. This time is to make sure you are well versed with the topic and is ready to take on the audience’s attention.
Exercise before you go
It is quite natural to feel anxious before speaking in front of a huge audience the best way to relieve this stress is to exercise and work out. It is also a good way to practice your speech while running or jogging.
Visit the place
Knowing the environment you are going to speak in beforehand can build confidence in you. Go there ahead of time, walk the place and the stage to get a feel of the place so that you are confident and comfortable while speaking.
Embrace your challenges
Public speaking is a part and parcel of most people’s lives and every opportunity should be properly used to advocate your talent. A very good way to deal with it is to embrace the challenges that it brings and overcome your fear by making sure to work on every aspect of it which is going to help you to spark the audience.
Speak to move your audience to action
Know what you want your audience to do after your speech is over. Prepare your speech in a way that audience is moved by it and does things differently.
Don’t overdo your slides
If you are using slides to give a presentation or a speech always remember to give them precise and simple and not overload them with too much text. People might get distracted by the too many slides and find little interest in what you are speaking.
Join a workshop
The best way to improve your public speaking skills is to join a workshop to learn the basic ways and ideas to get a hold of public speaking. In this way, you can also practice among a trained speaker as well as a group of people which will also boost your confidence.
Thinking positive helps you to connect to your audience and gives you successful communication because then you are more confident. Use visualization to raise your confidence and imagine what impact you would bring to the audience after you give a wonderful speech.
Identify and eliminate filler words
You may be used to filler words in between sentences which is not the correct way for public speaking so try recording your practice audios and listen to them regularly to understand your pattern and eliminate them.
If you make a mistake don’t apologize in front of the public there are chances they did not notice where you went wrong instead you can make the situation a little less tense by saying something out of the situation.
Ask for feedback
Asking for feedback is a good thing to do. After getting your valuable feedback you can work to improve the areas and learn some more techniques to be a fluent public speaker. Always keep your main attention on the audience to gain positive feedback at the end of your speech.
There is no perfect good communication but preparing beforehand will make you aim at giving a better speech. It is natural to be scared to speak in public for the first time but practicing regularly will help you in overcoming your stage fear. Always make a point to not get overwhelmed by the feedbacks to continue growing and speaking confidently with a positive approach.