Do you have a fear of public speaking? Do you find yourself freezing up while giving a presentation to a class or at work? You're not alone. Millions of people suffer similiar symptoms you suffer from. The good news is that you can greatly improve your public speaking skills. Read on to learn how to become a better public speaker.
1. The most important thing to remember is to relax. You may feel the urge to get up at the podium and rush through your speech in hopes that it will be over as soon as possible. But going this route will only cause you to mess up even more on your speech. Instead try to imagine that everyone there in the room is your friend. Just think, they wouldn't be any less nervous than you are if they were in your shoes speaking. Try to talk slow. Slow is best! Its okay if you have to pause. The audience understands. Doing this will ensure you don't rush yourself and end up stuttering or losing track of where you were in your presentation. Slow, deliberate speaking is also best because you may start speaking fast and the audience may not be able to understand what you are saying as your words may be slurred. So the important thing to take from here, is to speak slow and just relax. Act as if you don't care if anyone else is in the room. This always helps me.
2. The next step is to remember you have to practice your speech or presentation numerous times before you present it. This is critical. Practice reading it to yourself in front of the mirror or in front of people you trust. The more you practice before the actual presentation, the easier it will be and the more smoother your presentation will flow. You will also gain more confidence as well. Just think, do you think someone like Barack Obama or Al Gore just goes up to the stage and wings it with their speech? Do you think someone who has been on TV speaking from years learned how to be a great public speaker overnight? No! They practice numerous times before hand and may even have speech coaches to help them. In addition, many famous people have been making public speeches for years now so that is something to keep in mind.
3. Make sure you also stand tall and appear confident when presenting your speech. Tuck your shoulders back and practice looking your audience in the eyes. Avoid shuffling side to side or fidgeting as much as possible as these are tell tell signs that you are nervous and not confident in yourself. You want to command respect and attention from the room. This will surely take the audience's mind off the fact that you may be nervous. Its also important to place your note cards or paper in front of you to only use to jog your memory in case you lose track of what you are going to say. If possible, avoid putting all of what you are going to say word for word in front of you. Instead, include short phrases and take your time. This will help you expand on your topic and engage the audience more rather than you just reading word for word from a paper or index card.
4. At the conclusion of your speech, ask anybody if they have any question and wait about 1-3 minutes for any response. If there aren't any questions then kindly thank your audience for listening to your speech and walk confidently to your seat.
In conclusion, public speaking is never easy. I too am nervous when it comes to public speaking. But you can become a great public speaker through practice, patience, and simply learning to relax. Also just remember to take your time. Its okay if you have to pause to figure out where you are going with your speech. Good Luck!