Public speaking is a common fear but also an unavoidable one. Chances are, if you work in a business environment you will be required to talk in public at some stage in your career.
Whether you need to talk in public for a presentation, meeting or seminar, here are three tips to help your calm your nerves and deliver a successful message:
Preparation is vital
Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse. Preparing before the day is crucial; it can help tame your nerves and provide you with reassurance that you know what you’re going to talk about. You might want to prepare an opening line or run over a personal story you want to use.
As well as preparing for the delivery of the content, you should also prepare your material to run slightly under time, i.e, a 15 minute speech if you’re given a 20 minute time slot. Prepping before going on stage is also useful in preventing embarrassing blunders, so test your microphone, presentation slides and lighting if possible.
Show some passion
Passionate speakers exude confidence and engage with their audiences. If you focus on providing benefit to your audience (rather than self-endorsement), you can almost guarantee that your audience will respond positively. You may wish to share a funny or relatable anecdote or explain high-level topics thoroughly, asking questions to ensure the crowd understands. Don’t hold back when discussing subjects that invoke emotion in you; if you feel strongly about something then convey it. Passionate speakers are much more likely to be remembered, and even favoured, for their authenticity.
Slow it down
A common mistake people make when they are nervous is to talk too quickly. Mumbling or talking at a fast pace just to get through the content is a big no-no and one of the easiest ways to lose your audience’s attention. Do yourself and your audience a favour and use pauses throughout (not just at the end of phrases or sentences). This way the audience maintains their attention and it gives you a chance to take a full breath and slow down.