It is a natural thing to feel nervous or have “butterflies in your stomach” before you give a speech. This in small amounts is helpful but in excess it can have a negative impact on the speech. A bit of nervousness keeps you on your toes and alert. Your heightened sense of awareness makes you a sharper presenter, one who is able to adapt as the presentation continues. So there’s nothing to worry about – you’re only being human. Below are some useful tips on how you can control the nervous feeling and give a better speech.
8 Public Speaking Tips For Outstanding Presentations
1. Have the Content at Hand
You should always choose a topic that you have a lot of interest in. Getting to know more about what you are going to say is also important since with more content you can always fill in those blank moments when you are out of words. Having extra information is very useful and can even save you from tricky situations sometimes. You can always use a variety of means to ensure that you do not forget the material for the speech. You can always conduct some research on the internet or in a library to fill yourself in on the topic at hand.
2. Rehearse a Lot
Practicing for the speech in a simulated scenario is very helpful. You can always rehearse with all the tools you will be using for the actual speech. This will give you an opportunity to identify your weak points and revise the speech as needed. You should work a lot to control the tempo at which you will give the speech, learn to control breathing rates and the filler words used in the speech. It is important to practice with a stopwatch or a countdown timer in order to gauge the time in which you will take to present the entire speech from the beginning to the end. This also gives you the opportunity to imagine some unexpected things which may happen and cause interruptions to your speech. This way, you will know how to resume the speech after an interruption.
3. Get to Know the Audience
Knowing your audience gives you a sense of familiarity which boosts your confidence during the speech presentation. One can get to interact with the audience members and greet them as they arrive. Getting to know more about them also gives you an opportunity to include them in the speech by mentioning one or two names that you have just familiarized yourself with. This way, the speech becomes more friendly, engaging and captivating.It is way easier to present a speech to people who you are familiar with than presenting to a bunch of strangers who you barely know. Getting to know your audience also helps in building social connections that are beneficial even beyond the scope of presenting the speech.
4. Be Familiar with the Venue You Will Make the Presentation
Arriving early at the venue has a big advantage. For instance, you will be able to do a rehearsal with the actual setting and equipment such as microphone and visual aids if any. You also get to become familiar with the setting of the place thus boosting your courage. One also gets to feel at ease with the surrounding and with the increased comfort, comes increased confidence.
5. Get Relaxed
You should begin your speech by addressing the audience directly. This gives you an opportunity to be calm. You should always stop for a moment and smile before uttering even a single word. This will help you to relax and even makes the audience anxious to hear what you have to say. In case you are nervous, relaxing helps you to convert the nervousness into enthusiasm which goes a great way in keeping your audience engaged and attentive.
6. Use Visualization
When you imagine the best case scenario for giving your speech, such as audible voice and the audience engaged and active, it will greatly boost your confidence as you do the actual presentation. This is because the mental image created becomes what you want the speech to go like and it will be just like going through the motions of giving the speech. The use of visualization is a great way of gaining confidence and facing the audience when giving a speech.
7. Realize that the Audience Wants You to Succeed
The audience expects the best from you so they will be encouraging and very supportive. The last thing they want is for you to fall flat on your face with a disastrous presentation that wastes their time sitting on their seats. Having this in mind will help to increase your presentation skills as you will strive to be entertaining, interesting, educative and stimulating. The audience will be expecting this from you and having this kind of positive attitude is one way to make the presentation great. Your speech will be determined by how you perceive your audience and what you think of them. Thinking of them as an encouraging audience will help you give them the best speech you can ever give since you will be achieving to give your best. In case of any nervous mistakes, it is best not to apologize as most probably the audience will not have noticed that you blundered.
8. Focus on the Message
When giving a speech it is best to put all your anxieties and problems aside and give your full attention to the audience and the message that you are putting across. You should try to block out other things that may come to mind at that time as they will take away part of your concentration making you absent minded thus giving a half baked speech. Giving your full attention to the audience also helps to make every moment of the speech giving memorable as you will not forget easily.
The Bottom Line – Have Confidence
In a nutshell,your speech should be a manifestation of you as a person and as an authority in a certain field of interest. With increased experience comes confidence and as we all know, confidence is the key to effective public speaking. Giving speeches at many places on different occasions gives you the experience you need in order to become a confident public speaker. Always be on the lookout for opportunities to give a speech at an occasion and you will see your confidence grow with time. Although it may be difficult at first, it always gets better with time and experience.