Routinely described as one of the greatest (and most common) fears, the thought of public speaking tends to illicit anxiety from even the most confident person. Fortunately, there are many ways to overcome this roadblock and learn to deliver a memorable and commanding speech.
The top motivational speakers know certain things to be true: nervousness is completely normal and to combat this, practice and prepare.
1. Practice, Practice, Practice
No matter who it is, everyone feels something before public speaking, whether it be fast-beating hearts or shaky hands. These physiological reactions should not be associated with a feeling like you will perform poorly, but instead, nerves are a good thing. The adrenaline rush is actually making you more alert, which is just better preparation for your speech.
The number one best way to overcome anxiety is to prepare, prepare, and prepare some more. Study your notes and go over them multiple times. The more comfortable you are with your material, the easier it will feel to deliver.
2. Your Speech is About the Audience, Not You
Know who your audience is before you begin to craft your message. Your speech is intended to move and influence your audience, not you, so be conscience of the who will be listening. Learn as much about your listeners as you can. This will help you determine your choice of words, level of information, and motivational statement.
3. Effectively Organize Your Material
The framework of your speech should be organized in a way that entrances your audience within the first 30 seconds.
4. Keep Your Eyes Open to Feedback and Adapt to It
While delivering your speech, keep the focus on the audience and be constantly gauging their reactions to what you are saying. Based off of this feedback, adjust your message and remain flexible. It’s easy to lose your audience’s attention if you just deliver a canned speech, instead of adapting to what they’re interested in and excited about.
5. People Love Seeing Your Personality
Don’t be afraid to let your personality shine through during your speech. You will establish credibility and the trust of your audience when you’re yourself and the audience sees who you truly are.
6. Humor Is Always a Good Idea
Telling funny stories, using anecdotes and effective language during your presentation is almost always a sure-fire way to engage your audience and grab their attention. Audiences respond well to a personal touch.
7. Keep Reading to a Minimum, If At All
Reading or looking at your slides constantly will fracture the relationship you bare working on building with your audience. By maintaining eye contact and keeping the focus on yourself and message, you are creating an interpersonal connection that will only enhance the quality and memorability of your presentation.
8. Start and End Your Speech With a Bang
Your audience will most likely remember the beginning of your speech and the ending the most, so make these parts count the most. Start your speech with an anecdote, story or something that will grab their attention, and conclude with a summary and strong statement that your audience is sure to remember.
9. Be Careful With Visual Aids
Too many visual aids will hurt the connection your trying to form with your audience. Use them solely to clarify or enhance your content, and always have them be another way to grab your audience’s attention.
10. Practice Does Not Make Perfect
Good communication is never perfect, and nobody expects perfection. However, putting in the appropriate amount of time to prepare will help you deliver a better speech. You may not be able to shake your nerves entirely, but you can learn to minimize them.
Yes, public speaking is difficult, but it is by no means impossible. With these tips and watching videos of the many outstanding speakers on the WWSG website, you can become a master in no time.