Does your heart skip a beat, your stomach filling with butterflies, and your mind goes blank, whenever you are asked to speak in public?
Public speaking is important in both business, education, and the public arena. There are many benefits to public speaking whether you’re an individual or a business.
Being a good public speaker can enhance your reputation, boost your self-confidence, and open up countless opportunities. While good skills can open doors, poor ones can close them. For example, your boss might decide against promoting you after sitting through a badly delivered presentation. You might lose a valuable new contract by failing to connect with a prospect during a sales pitch. Or you could make a poor impression with your new team, because you trip over your words and don’t look people in the eye.
Make sure that you learn how to speak well!
In this article, we will share the 5 practical tips to improve your public speaking skills to tackle your public speaking anxiety and learn to deliver a memorable speech!
1. Be Prepared and Use Visual Aids Wisely
The most important part of a successful presentation happens before you even start talking. Once you do begin speaking, you will be thankful for your fastidious preparation and practice.
If you are using presentation slides, then make the most of them. More than just being functional, the slides should be clutter-free and aesthetically pleasing to keep your audience engaged from start to finish. More importantly, allow your audience to comprehend the information you communicate with them. A professionally crafted and engaging presentation slides empower you to ace those important presentations and achieve the success you want.
If there are any difficult to pronounce words or technical jargon, then make sure you pronounce them correctly. The correct pronunciation and knowledge of industry language will give you confidence and credibility.
2. Nervousness is Normal. Practice and Rehearse!
All people feel some physiological reactions like pounding hearts and trembling hands. Do not associate these feelings with the sense that you will perform poorly or make a fool of yourself. Some nerves are good. The adrenaline rush that makes you sweat also makes you more alert and ready to give your best performance.
If time allows, use deep breathing exercises to slow your heart rate and give your body the oxygen it needs to perform. This is especially important right before you speak. Take deep breaths from your belly, hold each one for several seconds, and let it out slowly.
There’s a good reason that we say, “Practice makes perfect!” The best way to overcome anxiety is to prepare, prepare, and prepare some more. If you’re going to be delivering a presentation or prepared speech, create it as early as possible. The earlier you put it together, the more time you’ll have to practice.
Considering both the conscious and subconscious decision-making processes as well as the inner neurological motivations of people, the use of NLP techniques and strategies in business presentations have been proven to help presenters engage and connect with their audience more easily, thereby influencing them. Learn how you could finally overcome your nerves during presentations and become a more confident and competent presenter.
3. Make Eye Contact with Audience and Command the Space
Communication is much more about tone and body language than the words we say. The words of course matter, but emphasis comes with movement and body language.
If you’re nervous, or if you don’t believe in what you’re saying, the audience can soon know.
The right physical communication can have a profound impact on how your message is received and interpreted. Stand up straight, take deep breaths, look people in the eye, and smile. Don’t lean on one leg or use gestures that feel unnatural. Avoid crossing your arms, clasping your hands behind or in front of your body or hands in pockets. Don’t fiddle with anything. Keep your hands free for expressive gesticulation.
Many people prefer to speak behind a podium when giving presentations. While podiums can be useful for holding notes, they put a barrier between you and the audience. They can also become a “crutch,” giving you a hiding place from the dozens or hundreds of eyes that are on you.
Instead of standing behind a podium, walk around and use gestures to engage the audience. This movement and energy will also come through in your voice, making it more active and passionate.
The more you project confidence, the more confident you are likely to feel. Get out there and own the room. Even if you are terrified. Fake it. Look people in the eye (but not for too long! You don’t want to appear creepy) and command their attention. This tactic not only creates a deeper connection with individuals but the entire audience.
4. Use Humour and Tell Stories
Inject a funny anecdote in your presentation, and you will certainly grab your audience’s attention. Audiences generally like a personal touch in a speech. A story can provide that.
Storytelling is a crucial skill that has benefited thousands of successful leaders to connect, engage and inspire the stakeholders in their life and career. A clearly articulated story communicates effectively and makes us feel emotionally connected through meaningful moments. Powerful stories move people and lead to action. It sticks in our minds and helps us remember ideas and concepts.
5. Watch for Feedback and Adapt to It
Keep the focus on the audience. Gauge their reactions, adjust your message, and stay flexible. Delivering a canned speech will guarantee that you lose the attention of or confuse even the most devoted listeners.
Speaking off-the-cuff is about training your mind to transfer your thinking and feelings into words in double-quick time. It is about training yourself to express your opinions, present information or provide suggestions, at lightning speed, under pressure, but still maintaining your cool and projecting a calm and controlled demeanour. Learn powerful techniques for collecting your thoughts quickly and speaking convincingly in public. Once you master the system, you will grow immensely as a public speaker.
Can’t get enough of the tips above? Learn from our Master Trainer, David Goldwich who will share with you the Power Pose, Basic Template and the 12 Tips for an impromptu talk in the webinar video below:
Embrace the Challenge and Learn from Your Mistakes (and Successes)
Good communication is never perfect, and nobody expects you to be perfect. Every time you give a presentation, take some time afterwards to think about what worked and what failed. If it went well, consider what made it go well. If it went badly, analyse where and how it went wrong so that next time you can change your strategy and ensure the same thing doesn’t happen again.
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