If you are feeling shy about giving a speech in front of people, do not feel alone! Did you know that as many as 75% of adults have some level of anxiety related to public speaking? Learn some tricks of the trade that will help you to become less nervous and more confident for that next speech or presentation on your calendar.
Get to know your audience in advance
Before creating your speech, understand your audience and their needs. Always remember to keep the audience at the center of your communication and tailor your presentation around them.
While demographic information like age or gender is important, in order to know your audience, you should go much deeper. Before outlining your speech, ask yourself some questions such as “What do my audience members want to hear?” and “What are my audience’s goals?” Spend some time trying to talk to some of your audience ahead of time. This way, you may have the chance to understand what kind of information your audience expects from you.
Start with a good template
Most speeches require visual components for better understanding. Before creating your slides, make sure you are using a template that defines consistent global properties like fonts, colors, or chart styles. Choosing the right template may take some of your time, but that time is a good investment for a perfect presentation.
While you are presenting, you want your audience to be focused on you and your main ideas, not the screen. Highlighting your key points in a slideshow is a great way to help your audience remember those points. Visual aids like charts, graphs, photos, and videos are also great ways to keep the audience’s attention and curiosity.
Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse!
Practice makes perfect in many walks of life, but especially when it comes to public speaking. Like a great musician practices a symphony hundreds of times before playing it in front of an audience, a great speaker also practices their words before they find themselves in front of an audience.
There are many ways to practice your speech such as speaking to the mirror or recording yourself with a camera. Put the camera on and record yourself talking for a couple of minutes. When you play it back, instead of self-judging, you can pay attention to the improvements you can make such as not using filler words or phrases like “you know,” “um,” and “like.” After reviewing your speech numerous times, you will become more familiar and comfortable with your content.
How about checking out YouTube or TED Talk for some inspiration?
There are many great resources on the internet with tips and tricks on public speaking. “The Secret Structure of Great Talks” by Nancy Duarte and “TED’s Secret To Great Public Speaking” by TED curator Chris Anderson are only two of the great speeches that you can find.
When you watch powerful or professional speakers, take some notes about what they do with their voice and their body language to capture your attention. After finding some areas to improve, you can start incorporating them into your home practice sessions.
Pick an outfit that fits the occasion
A simple outfit that fits you well and that you feel comfortable wearing can maximize your confidence, and create a good first impression with your audience. Try to dress formally, but not in a way that restricts your movement.
Get familiar with the technology
Even if you have prepared a great speech, sometimes you may get into trouble because of the technical hitches. Therefore, arrive early in the presentation area to control the speaking area, get used to the stage, and practice using visual aids such as microphones or remote controls.
The value of getting a feedback
Having some sort of presentation tool to get feedback from your audience is an extremely useful way to improve your public speaking skills.
You may be asking “Why is getting presentation feedback so important?”. Feedback provides powerful information and is the best way to know if your presentation is doing what you want it to. With Presentii, you can provide attendees with login instructions, and share what type of feedback you want. Do you want your audience to provide their level of interest on each topic? Are you looking to improve your presentation content? Do you want input on your actual delivery of the content? Whatever you need to work on, your audience can be primed to provide you with the right type of feedback. Do you want to learn more about Presentii? Click for more information.
Own the stage
Do not forget to use your body as an instrument. A confident posture and a smile work together to engage your audience. Also, use your hand gestures and walk around on the podium to appear more passionate about your topic.
Less is more
Especially nowadays, audiences always have limited attention spans. You need to keep them engaged with short phrases and short stories. Consider your unique perspective for your all speech and focus on the key content and messages.
Don’t forget about your closing
At the end of your speech give the audience more information about how to reach you. Speeches are a great way to meet with people to grow your network. Enjoy your final moments on the stage and remember to smile at the end.
Do not forget that if you were selected to speak in public, it shows that you are an expert on the subject matter. Be proud of yourself, try to share your expertise with your audience, and most importantly enjoy every moment of your presentation.