It’s perfectly natural to be nervous before and during a speech. But do not fret, for there are ways of getting around these nerves. The five tips listed below have personally helped me get past my fear of public speaking; please don’t be afraid to give them a try!
Deep breathing is essential when it comes to calming nerves. When your body is lacking oxygen, speaking becomes physically difficult. Adults tend to take very short breaths; I think this might have to do with stress. It is best to take deeper breaths before and during your speech. Try these abdominal breathing techniques.
2. PRACTICE AS MUCH AS YOU CAN
Having notecards to refer to when you lose track of a thought, or need to reference a name is perfectly acceptable as long as you only glance down for a hot second. When you make your notecards, do not write down your speech word for word, instead, only write down key words or phrases. You should never write down your speech word for word because if you do, you will find yourself solely relying on your notecards. Doing this greatly increases your chance of reading your information instead of talking to your audience about what you know. The more you know about your topic, the better.
3. INCORPORATE HUMOR
I’ve found that incorporating humor is key to a successful speech. Of course there might be a few topics in which this may not be appropriate, so I will let you decide if you should include it or not. Everyone has a unique personality and sense of humor so use this to your advantage. I guarantee that your audience probably doesn’t want to be there as much as you do, unless it’s a wedding or joyous occasion of course. Either way, humor breaks the boredom barrier and is usually almost always appreciated. I guarantee getting laughs will boost your ego and will make you feel more comfortable with your audience.
4. INCLUDE THE AUDIENCE
If you involve your audience in your presentation, they pay more attention to those involved around them instead of just you, the speaker. This can lift some of that dead weight off of your shoulders. You also don’t want them to feel like they’re being talked at, especially if it’s for a long period of time. Find some good information about involving your audience here.
5. REMEMBER THAT THIS IS ONLY A BRIEF MOMENT OF YOUR LIFE
I promise that you will live through this. Just think that this is only going to be ‘insert amount of time here’ of your entire life. If you attempt to do all of these things, I guarantee, with time, or if you’re a natural (go you!), you will become a great public speaker!
Post written by: Erica Gallo