If you’ve ever asked for advice on public speaking, chances are you’ve heard some rather absurd responses. True, imagining your audience in their underpants may distract you from your anxiety momentarily. However, effective public speaking requires more than the absence of anxiety. These tips offer up a host of ideas to improve your experience speaking in front of groups.
Time yourself to find out how long your speech is. This can help you edit it and retrain its length. If you need to fill in more time, look for more pertinent information on the topic. Just don’t rush through the speech.
You should know your speech by heart. When you have memorized the speech, you should then work on delivery. Memorizing the speech itself also frees you up for improvisation later on.
When you arrive at the podium take a deep breath and engage the audience with your eyes and smile. Take a moment to calm your nerves and use your nervous energy as a way to energize your speech. Allow your audience to feel your excitement for what you are talking about.
The tone of your speech should depend on who you are giving it to. For instance, if your speech is work-related, your speech should be professional. On the other hand, if you are around friends and have to make a speech, you can be more personal. Base your whole speech on your audience.
Do not try to be someone else when giving your speech. If you want to grab your audience’s attention, you cannot come across as fake; your audience will not take you seriously. So, in other words, avoid saying things you would not normally say and don’t do anything you normally would not do.
Do not be afraid to let your audience know that you have no idea of the answer to some of their questions. People will respect your honesty and understand that you are human. This is much better than rambling on trying to convince them you know what is going on when you don’t.
Write down key points and ideas on note cards. It’s always ideal to bring a backup copy of your speech with you even if you have memorized it. While you don’t necessarily need the entire speech, having key points of it that you want to emphasize should at least be written down on note cards to ensure that you don’t forget to cover the important stuff.
Practice meditation to prepare for your speech. Imagine yourself doing well, feeling comfortable, speaking clearly and enjoying yourself. Imagine that your audience is interested and appreciates what you are saying. When you take the time to imagine a good experience, you greatly increase your chances of actually having a good experience.
Experiencing anxiousness before and during your time in the spotlight is normal, but it’s also unproductive. Your best bet is to take a more comprehensive approach to public speaking. Before your next engagement, practice following these important guidelines. You will find that your confidence is improved and that you are better able to communicate your message.