Public speaking is often cited as one of the biggest fears of people across a range of professions, backgrounds and age ranges. The reasons for this are varied, but center primarily upon the predicament of making a fool out of ourselves in front of those we would like to impress.
As with so many things in life, conquering your fear of public speaking is primarily a matter of perspective. That’s why simply shifting your mental attitude just a few degrees can have incredible, instant results.
Whether you are a brand ambassador hoping to draw attention to a company or are giving a presentation to important clients at work, there is no time where mastering the art of public speaking isn’t an enormous help.
Kick the bad habits and build new, better ones
When it comes to self-improvement there’s no space to kid yourself that there will be time tomorrow; if you really care about helping yourself, it needs to start today. Channel all of your energies and thoughts into identifying and countering your weaknesses and you will see the change immediately.
Using the following points, you can change the way you look out at a crowd and ultimately shape the way you face it.
1. Understand your audience
Before even embarking on preparing a speech or presentation, it is foremost important that you know who you will be addressing. Understanding the people standing in front of you is the first step in dismantling the thick cover of uncertainty that works to ramp up anxiety.
The kind of questions to ask about your audience include: what is their age range; what are their interests; why are they here today; how much prior knowledge do they have about this topic.
With a bolstered idea of your audience, you are better placed to address them. Using the correct tone and form of address you can either relate to them or establish yourself in relation to them. What’s more, once you have removed the smoke screen of who these people actually are, it will make them seem less intimidating and less complex.
2. Adequately prepare
The number one reason that people make a bad impression while speaking publically is not because they are nervous but because they aren’t adequately prepared. If you are confident in your subject matter and have performed the speech a thousand times, even if your nerves get the better of you in front of a crowd there is a much greater chance that you will still be able to make your way through.
Take the time to give yourself the aids you need and want, whether this is prompt cards, a compelling slideshow or something else entirely.
The best step you can take just prior to making your speech is to run it by people you are comfortable with. Even if it feels embarrassing or if you mess up, the experience of saying the words out loud and watching the responses is a great way to prepare you for the real thing.
3. Look the part
It rings true in every part of life, but is especially important on occasions when we must put our best face forward: looking the part is essential to helping us act the part. Not only should you look presentable but equally important is that you feel comfortable. This means that if everyone else in the room will be wearing a suit, you probably should do too.
When planning your outfit, you also want to ensure that it will not distract or detract from the actual content of your presentation. For guys looking to add smart accessories to their look, opt for a pair of flashy cufflinks or a sophisticated wristwatch. Ditch the tie if it’s not completely necessary, as it won’t help in the event you get hot and flustered. Women might choose to wear a silk scarf or necklace to add a powerful statement to their look.
4. Work to your strengths
Public speaking is enough of a task in itself, without having to worry about pretending to be someone you are not. This is why it’s important to ensure you are able to present as much of yourself as possible throughout your talk.
If you enjoy telling jokes, then incorporate some into your presentation, or if you know your subject matter extremely well then don’t be afraid to go into depth with it. If you are able to start enjoying yourself and feel more in your element, this will reflect into your outward projections.
So, are you ready?
Are you ready to take on the challenge? Well, good for you! Tips are useless until you put them into practice. So, whenever there’s a chance for doing a presentation or client pitch, just try to do what’s suggested in the article.
Good luck in your public speaking endeavor!