'Public speaking’… something which you might find somewhat daunting and maybe have tried to actively avoid doing in the past? Whether it’s conducting training sessions, delivering briefings and reports during internal meetings or presenting to a big group of clients, public speaking is everywhere. It is impossible to escape from, and you will undoubtedly be faced with having to speak in front of an audience at some stage during your career. Knowing ways in how to combat those unwanted nerves before presenting will allow you to deliver a clear, confident and memorable speech.
- Think positive
It is important to not associate nerves and anxiety with the sense that you are going to perform badly. Feeling nervous is completely normal and can actually be seen as a positive thing. So, try and change your mindset when you next speak in front of an audience and view feeling nervous with a positive outlook.
- Practice makes perfect
This might seem like an obvious one, but the only way to feel as confident as you can be before presenting is due to strong preparation.
- Practice in front of people: Start by practising your presentation on your own. Then, when you feel confident, give yourself enough time to practice in front of people.
-Receive feedback before the presentation: The only way to improve your pubic speaking is through listening to your audience. Ask for honest and critical feedback so you can improve next time.
-Record yourself: Record yourself on video so you can watch what the audience will be seeing. Find ways to improve for next time.
- Know your audience
It is important to research, learn about and understand who exactly you are talking to. This should be done before your speech is written, so the message can be tailored to the group of people. This will then enable you to organise your material in the most effective way suited to your audience with the right choice of words. Meeting your audience before (if this is suitable) will also calm nerves through talking to your audience, as well as allowing you to network.
- Use humour and tell stories
Telling a story or adding a sense of humour to your speech will help you grab the attention of you audience. Add a personal touch to your speech to allow your audience to relate to your points, and using your own examples will make you feel more comfortable whilst presenting.
- Focus on the two most important phases in your speech: the beginning and the end
Open your speech with something that will entice your audience to listen. Start with an interesting quote, or a surprising statistic. Make sure to end your speech with a strong statement and closing line.
Want to find out more about Public Speaking?
Attend one of our ‘Speaking with Impact’ courses, to listen to communication skills consultant, Sandra Miller.
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