Your heart is racing and your palms are starting to sweat. You ask yourself, why does it feel like it’s a 100 degrees in here? You can’t seem to stop your eyes from frantically scanning the room to see what the center of attention is and you start counting the seconds until it’s your turn.
Aren’t we all familiar with this feeling? Doesn’t this feeling erupt and intensify when you get picked to lead a presentation at work or being put in the spotlight at school? But don’t worry it’s not just only you, public speaking is statistically one of the top fears people have, according to a poll done by Washington Post.
For some, being in the center of the spotlight is glorifying and the right environment to thrive in. But for the majority, having all the attention on makes them want to just melt into the floor and seep down the cracks. However, this is no way to live. Tough times call for tough leadership and I got the right tools in my arsenal to revive your courage and get your life back together.
1. Know your Audience
Before you begin to structure your presentation or speech, it is crucial to know your audience. Consider who you want this message to reach and how it can affect them. Find the right words and level of information to create a speech that is powerful and worth listening to. It is important that how you organize your content and your method of delivery is what makes your speech efficient. Having your content all over the place will just drive your audience into confusion and eventually, boredom.
2. Think Positively
You need to tackle every problem with an auspicious mindset and know that hope and confidence is your friend. Going at something while doubting yourself will not only limit your ability to perform at your best, but it will lead to cluttering and stammering during your speech. If left unchecked, this self-sabotaging method will snowball and leave you astray on the stage. What you need to do is to use affirmations and visualization to raise your level of confidence. Tell yourself that you can do it. Tell yourself that success comes from trial and error and whatever the outcome is, will only add on to your experience and motivation to do better. As long as you try your hardest, that’s what matters.
Visualization is also a major key to this. Picture your goals right before you give that speech. Imagine yourself creating a rippling effect of positivity that touches the hearts and minds of many instead of what you’re afraid might happen.
3. Record and Replay
Whenever you have the chance to, it’s always a good idea to record your speech and replay it to get a gist of the quality of it. By recording, you can pinpoint the areas where you find is weak and work on ameliorating it. As you watch, try to take notice on any fillers, such as “um” or “like.” Focus on how your body language is like. Are you standing awkwardly? Are you looking at the audience? Did you smile? Were you coherent and concise at all times? Catching those unwanted points can save you future embarrassment and even raise your confidence level.
4. Ask For Feedbacks.
With the recording, share it with your close friends and family. Ask them for their advice on what you can do better or what they like to see in someone giving them a speech. Take note of the points they give you and try to work it out and see whether you could incorporate that in your own plan.
You already know the cliche, “practice makes perfect.” Now it may well be indeed that perfection can never be reached no matter how many times you practice, but the beauty of repetition is that it does wonder in bringing down your mistakes to the minimum. Putting in the requisite time to revisit your ideas and thoughts will help you improve your speaking skills indefinitely. A good way to practice would be to say your speech in front of a mirror.
6. Adding Your Own Personality Into It.
No one likes to talk or listen to someone who’s stoic and monotone. There’s no difference in talking to a wall to that person. So what you must remember is that by embellishing your speech with a part of you, is a key in making it unique and interesting. Maybe you’re an extremely funny person but shy and quiet. When drafting up your speech, try to incorporate some humor you know is appropriate and will make people laugh. By playing with the mood of the audience, you can prevent an atmosphere from being too heavy on one aspect.
7. Maintain Eye Contact
Reading from the screen or a piece of paper is fine, but when you have your eyes peeled there 90% of the time might give the audience the wrong impression of you. They might think that you weren’t prepared or even worse, that you don’t know what you’re talking about. By maintaining eye contact with the crowd, allows a sort of connection to be built and an image that you have done your homework beforehand.
8. Avoid Talking Too Fast
First of all, speaking quickly will interfere with your breathing pattern which would lead you to breathe less and panic. Second, talking too fast could potentially lose some of your audience. Some people might take a little longer to register what you’re saying and if you are giving your speech at the pace of one of Eminem‘s rap song, you’re going to have a room filled with people paying attention to their phones instead.
9. Light Exercising
A little exercising before doing something studious is proven to enhance your thinking skills. Exercising gets your blood circulating and will get more oxygen in your brain.
10. Use A Conversational Tone
Can you imagine hearing a speech from someone who basically yelling at you, eyes wide, and sweating? It’s like you’re back home with your parents again, hearing them yelling for you to clean your room. It’s crucial to set a tone that is not too intrusive or passive. If you’re going to speak in a low voice, who’s going to hear you? It’s best to speak normally with a little projecting of your voice. Speak slowly and coherently so that it all compliments each other.