Does the idea of giving a presentation before a large group give you anxiety? You’re not alone. In fact statistics show that more people are afraid of public speaking than they are of dying. Today we serve up some tips to help you eradicate the jitters associated with public speaking.
Practice, Practice, Practice – Want to hone your public speaking skills? The most surefire way to do so is by learning through repetition. In other words, you need to practice. Also, be sure to record your practice on video so you can evaluate your content and delivery so you can make necessary changes.
Speak as if Your Audience are Your Friends – One way to help battle public speaking anxiety is to deliver your speeches as if you’re talking to your friends in a comfortable setting, like your own homeroom. Doing so will settle your nerves, put you at ease and allow you to deliver your message with confidence.
Get There Early – Part of the anxiety related to public speaking is the fact that you’re often doing so in an unfamiliar setting. By arriving at the venue early, you’ll allow yourself to get comfortable with your surroundings. You’ll be able to practice your speech, or at least its opening. Plus, you’ll have time to make sure all your equipment is working correctly.
Get to the Point – A more polite way of saying, “keep it simple stupid.” When trying to get your point across, a simple and direct approach is always preferred. When outlining your speech, narrow your focus to drill down to the core message you want to communicate. Then, add messaging that supports that point in as clear and concise a way as possible.
Make Eye Contact – People like to be talked “to” not “at.” To ensure you’ll be able to form as deep a connection with your audience as possible, practice your speech until you can deliver it without minimal referencing of your notes. Doing so will allow you to scan the room and find audience members to make and keep eye contact with throughout your delivery.
Slow Down Your Delivery – When we’re nervous, we tend to talk much faster. Give off an air of confidence by making a conscious effort to avoid rushing through your speech. Slowing things down will help you command the room as you’ll be building drama for your audience – they’ll want to know what you’re going to say next.
Reiterate – Choose your most important points and find ways to state them in multiple ways throughout your speech. Remember message sent is not always message received. Take steps to constantly reinforce your primary message when crafting your speech.
Close Big – Ending strong is a big component of successful public speaking. Make sure you leave a lasting impression that includes a quick recap of your key points and a clear call to action of what you want your audience to do after you leave the stage.
Find a Coach – After utilizing the tips mentioned above, should you find that you’re still lacking the confidence you need to leave a lasting impression with your speeches, consider enlisting the help of a professional. There are plenty of public speaking experts out there you can turn to help you fine tune your approach.
As an entrepreneur, your ability to communicate effectively will be an important component of your success. So face your public speaking fears head on using the tips above. Once you do, you’ll find each successive speech or presentation will be easier than the last to deliver. It’s all about getting over that first hump. Or put another way, as Dale Carnegie once said, “Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy."