insoiraWho actually likes public speaking? Not many of us! Unfortunately, though, it’s a highly valued communication skill needed across all industries, and particularly important if you run your own business. Public speaking can help you with everything from winning pitches to gaining exciting PR opportunities so perfecting this art is essential.
Top tips to take you on your way to being a public speaking pro
1. Practice, practice, practice
While the thought of standing up in front of a group of people may be a daunting prospect, to get over the fear it’s important not to shy away from opportunities that involve public speaking. Like anything in life, the more you do it, the better you get.
2. Failing to prepare is preparing to fail
If you are particularly nervous about an upcoming presentation or public speaking event it is fundamental you feel fully prepared. Practice your speech out loud to anyone that will listen whether that’s family, friends or even the dog.
3. Watch popular TED talks
Learn tips and tricks of the trade from the best by watching some of the most popular TED talks – there are thousands to choose from.
4. Just breathe
Arrive early at the venue and find somewhere quiet to take a few deep breaths and smile. This will trick your body into thinking you’re happy and relaxed even if really you’re a bag of nerves.
5. Chat with members of your audience before you start
When you arrive, make sure to speak to people before you start your speech, as this will automatically help you to calm your nerves. Plus, audience members are more likely to warm to someone they have spoken with face-to-face.
Related reading: 6 Productivity Hacks to Save Time and Money
6. Have water on hand
Just before you stand up to speak make sure you’ve had a few sips of water. When we’re nervous our mouths can dry out, which makes it tricky to speak.
7. Start with a question
Consider starting with a poll or survey to automatically engage with your audience. This will also take the pressure off you for the first few moments.
8. SLOW down
Although you’re probably sick to death of your presentation by now, it is vital to remember this is the first time your audience will have heard what you are saying. Don’t rush through what you’ve got to say, and leave pauses so your audience has time to take in what you’re saying.
9. Keep it light-hearted
However serious your topic a couple of light-hearted remarks or jokes will help lighten the mood, and show that you are human.
10. Don’t overuse PowerPoint
Keep PowerPoint slides for images and key quotes or stats. You want people to focus on you and what you’re saying, not the PowerPoint slides.
11. Positive visualizations
However anxious you feel about public speaking, try and keep a positive mind frame. As always, the more you think something is going to go well the more likely it will.
12. Create a Call to Action
Always finish with a “Call to Action.” Think about what it is you want to achieve from the presentation, and make sure you bear this is in mind when you create this Call to Action, which could be anything from asking people to connect with you on social media platforms, to suggesting they subscribe to your newsletter, to asking them to respond to a deal you are proposing.
Do you have any more great tips for how to get over a fear of public speaking? Let us know in the comments below.