Public speaking can be terrifying. Think of all the things that could go wrong. No matter how scary, If you’re into business, you’ll have to address an audience at some point. There’s no easy way around it.
You may be shy and nervous around big audiences, but you can learn to overcome your fears. Here are 10 public speaking tips that can help you to deliver an awesome speech with a lot more confidence.
It all starts with a well-thought-out plan. Your speech shouldn’t comprise blocks of text. You should aim for a logical flow that you can enhance with examples, images, and stories.
If you are feeling lost and have no idea where to start, learn from the best. Find videos of great speakers in your industry and try to break down their speeches. Search for the full transcripts to understand precisely how these great speeches are constructed.
Once you have your first draft, sit in front of a mirror and practise saying your speech out loud until you can deliver every line comfortably and without errors.
Alternate the pitch of your voice as you move from line to line to avoid monotony. Crucial bits of information should be emphasised and delivered with a greater force. You may even want to consider pausing every now and then for a few seconds. That way, your audience will have enough time to soak in all the information.
The best way to ruin a speech is to try and imitate someone’s else style of speaking. You’ll end up with a parody of a speech that your audience won’t be able to connect with.
Locate your defining traits and incorporate them smoothly into the text. Don’t try to be something that you clearly aren’t, because people won’t buy it.
If you’re naturally shy and introverted but have a great sense of humour, you may benefit by incorporating those traits into your speech. Perhaps you’re a really great storyteller; then it would make sense to kick things off with a story.
While you’re an essential part of the speech, you’re not the one that you’re looking to inform/educate/entertain with it all. No, that’s your audience.
Spend some time trying to understand where your audience is coming from. Who are these people, and what are their problems? What about their hopes and dreams? Talk about a topic that interests and excites them. Give them a reason to listen.
This is why your opening lines and the first few paragraphs are so important. They shouldn’t just introduce your message; they should also clearly outline the exact reasons why your audience needs to focus on what you have to say.
If you’re naturally shy and introverted, you’ll obviously have to come up with a persona that’s more vibrant and communicative for your speeches. You can still be you, just a more extroverted and vibrant version of yourself.
This persona won’t come to you overnight. It will take time to develop and perfect. The quicker you embrace our on-stage persona, the easier it will be to deliver speeches and connect with audiences on a deeper level.
Another trick great speakers live by is knowing where they’ll be speaking before the actual event takes place. Even if you sound great at home, your anxiety may kick in once you find yourself in an unfamiliar room full of strangers that have their eyes fixed on you.
Spatial orientation will help alleviate some of that stress. Try to visit the place before the event takes place. Give yourself plenty of time to walk the stage and plan your movements. This is often enough to trick yourself into thinking that the unfamiliar space is as good as home.
Of course, once people start pouring in, some of that anxiety will come back. This is why it’s great to have a couple of people you know seated in the audience. Check with them every now and then to avoid having to focus directly on the massive audience (which can make anyone feel dizzy).
Now, this is a controversial topic in the community. While most people agree that smart dress will give you that confidence boost you need to nail your speech, not everyone feels comfortable in a suit and tie.
Ditch the suit if casual dress is allowed. Go with a smart shirt and jeans or, something that makes you feel comfortable. With your great sense of style, you could probably rock anything.
The truth is, appearances do matter…Most people will have already made a dozen assumptions about you before you even open your mouth. First impressions can dictate the whole mood of the speech, which is why you need to look as crisp as possible.
There’s a reason why people smile when they’re happy. Happiness is contagious, and so are smiles. Put a big smile on your face before you start your speech to make people feel at ease. Check the audience, and you’ll see that the majority of people will smile back at you. Crazy, right?
We’re natural storytellers. The need of our ancestors to share stories is the reason why we today can use languages to communicate with each other. Compelling stories can convey emotions with extreme ease.
Start with a story and link back to it at the end of your speech. This is a great way to bring the experience around full circle and grant your audience a satisfying close.
It’s your speech, but it doesn’t mean you have to talk all the time. Ask questions and encourage people to actively participate and contribute to the discussion. Bringing other people into your speech is a great way to relieve stress and tension. It’s also a unique opportunity to find out what your audience really thinks about your ideas.
Public speaking can be a huge energy drain, especially for people who are naturally shy and introverted. Make some alone time to mentally prepare before you step on the stage. Maybe try some breathing exercises and relaxation techniques to make sure you’re as calm as possible. Keep breathing and don’t look back.
For introverts and people with little experience, public speaking is definitely a challenge. Make sure you prepare early, giving yourself plenty of time to rehearse and relax before the big day. Once you step on the stage, remember to be yourself and have fun!