Public speaking is a big deal for everyone, the question is how big a deal is it to you? Most persons develop an instant fright whenever they have to speak to a group of persons, could even be as few as three. Some however, are very scared to their teeth about addressing a group of people, especially in a formal or public gathering.
In spite of these fears, public speaking is a very important skill that many have come to master. It is especially important because, we’ll always have cause to address people, either formally or informally and it’s important to communicate properly without sinking into the ground in fear. Mastering it doesn’t necessarily mean not having occasional cold feet or being nervous about addressing a crowd, instead, it means gaining control over your emotion such that not even a mosquito would suspect that you’re tensed. It’s about being in control of yourself and your presentations to ensure a top notch delivery!
Here are a few ways to master this art and blow the mind of your audience through effective public speaking.
● Expect to be nervous. Even experienced speakers get nervous.
It’s only naturally to feel a bit tensed about speaking in public, so don’t beat yourself about it. Relax, it’s not just you. Everyone feels nervous for the first few minutes before gaining their balance. It’s more important to not let your audience know you’re nervous.
● Have a sound knowledge of your topic
What’s your topic about? How much do you know about it? How well are you prepared for your speech? Are you a master in that field? Are you prepared to tackle any questions that might arise? It’s advisable to be at least 95% ready for your presentation, before you even climb the stage. This will go a long way to calm your nerves.
● Practice, practice and practice!
There’s no end to practicing. Keep rehearsing your speech so you know about 70% or more of your lines. Practice regularly in front of your mirror and if you have someone to listen and rate you, even better. Understand what your talk is all about and practice till the moment you climb the stage.
● Relax! It’s not the end of the world!
Calm down! Chill! Breathe! It might be difficult, but it’s definitely not impossible. Take deep breaths to calm your nerves. Slowly breathe in and out until you feel yourself relax. Regular breathing exercises can help you keep calm even in a storm.
Shop my favorite Smart Water Bottle and use my Code MONICA5 to get $5 off
● Know your audience.
Who are the people that will hear you speak? Are they youngsters, middle aged or elderly? How do you catch their attention and keep them glued to the end? These are things you need to find out before you climb the stage. Regardless of the topic, there’s always an approach that will be appealing to others. If you’re a youth, how would someone broach a topic that’d keep you interested till the end? What are the things you can relate with? Put yourself in the shoes of your audience and try a method that’ll engage them.
● Know the environment
Where’s the venue for your talk? Is it a church, school, hospital, event center or even a village town hall? Wherever the venue may be, know your environment very well. Understand the people in that environment and along the line of your speech, use instances that they can easily relate with. Remember that communication is a two way process. I know we love to show off all the education and grammar we learnt in school. But if the other party doesn’t understand all that, then the message has not been passed. Know your audience and know when to switch for effective communication.
● Test all equipment
If you’re making a formal presentation which involves the use of PowerPoint presentation, make sure your slides are ready long before the big day. It’s important to also know most of the contents of your slides, should there be any disruption along the presentation. Long before the start, test all equipment needed for your talk and ensure that they’re in good condition. If not, arrange for a replacement as soon as possible. This is why it’s very important to arrive the venue early so you can get your acts together before the start.
● Take every opportunity to speak.
Every experienced speaker you know today didn’t suddenly become that good. It took a lot of effort and practice to reach where they are. From making small talks with new people, to raising a few points in a meeting, to giving mind-blowing speeches. Don’t shy away from any opportunity to speak meaningfully. You get better with each successful speech you give. Remember that repeated success boosts your self-confidence faster than any pep talk. So keep trying and keep winning.
● Attend Other Speeches
Attend other events and hear others speak. Learn from everyone, even a child talking. You never know when that bit of knowledge could come in very handy, so always be eager to learn, watch carefully and pick a thing or two to add to your success. Watch out for flaws too, so you know what to avoid in your own presentation.
In conclusion, know that excellent public speaking is not a day’s job. You’ll need to come out of your shell and make a conscious decision to put in the necessary work to be better. And when you do get better, you’ll be happier!!