For most people, speaking in front of large crowds is scary. They feel nervous, sweat profusely, stutter during the speech, forget their words and is overall scary for them. However, we will find ourselves in front of the microphone more than once in our life. It could either be a speech or a presentation where you will have to speak in front of many people. To make sure that you don’t ruin it, here are 12 tips that you can follow to overcome your fear of public speaking.
- Expect to be nervous
Getting nervous is normal, even for professional public speakers. Don’t think you will ruin you speech or presentation due to nervousness. Try to turn your nervous jitters into energy that you can use to boost your delivery.
- Prepare your content
Thoroughly prepare your content and the way you’re going to deliver it to your audience. Know you key message and what you want the audience to take away from your speech.
- Practice relaxation techniques
Before any big speech or presentation, sit comfortably in a quiet place and rid your mind of any thoughts of making a fool out of yourself and rather picture yourself speaking with confidence. Take slow deep breaths through your nose before going to the front to calm your nerves and clear your mind.
- Redefine your audience
Instead of imagining your audience as tomatoes, potatoes or naked people, think of them as normal human beings who get just as nervous as you when they have to speak in public. Think of your audience as your friends who will be encouraging you despite your mistakes, think of the audience as your classmates or fellow colleagues who are all equally nervous about their own presentation.
- Create contingency plans
Plan ahead all the things that could go wrong while you are speaking. This could include the PowerPoint fails, power cuts, problems with the visual aids and other things. Having a plan B for everything that could actually go wrong will save you the embarrassment and nervous jitters. It will help in case of accidents and keep you confident.
- Practice and practice some more
The best way you ensure you speak well in front of a crowd is to practice your speech over and over again. You can practice in front of the mirror or record yourself practicing to know how you look while speaking and what you can improve on. You can also present in front of your friends and ask them to evaluate you and recommend any improvements.
- Attend Other Speeches
Listen to the speeches given by the people before you and carefully assess them. This will help you to assess the audience and the environment. You can find out how the audiences are reacting to their speeches and make improvements and changes accordingly.
- Get Organized
Organize all your thoughts along with organizing the materials for your speech. Organizing everything properly before you speak will make you much calmer. It will also help you reduce your anxiety and nervousness of something going wrong during your speech.
- Arrive Early
Always arrive early to the location where you will be speaking. This will ensure that you will be prepared for your speech on time and will not be running to get to the location making your mind all frazzled. Being early will also allow you to adjust to your surroundings which includes the microphone, lighting and the seating.
- Pay attention to non-verbal cues
Your audience will easily be able to catch the non-verbal cues because they will be focusing on you throughout the speech. So, you have to make sure not to give out any negative cues. You must stand up straight with broad shoulders and your arms loose. Don’t stand too stiffly on the stage and make small movements with your hands. Other things you must consider are your facial expressions, gestures and how welcoming you appear.
- Maintain your pace of speaking
You have to make sure that you don’t talk too fast or too slow and maintain just the right pace of speech to ensure that your audience can understand you. If you talk too fast, the audience will not be able to understand you and you will also lose your breath while speaking which will make you nervous. Also, if you find yourself pausing for any reason, hold it for at least 10 seconds which will make it seem intentional.
- Act confident
Act confident in front of your audience by having a strong stance and hiding your nervousness behind a smile. Some studies have shown that using power stances a few minutes before talking in front of crowd creates a lasting sense of confidence in you. So, hold your head high, push your chest out and speak with confidence.
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