Public Speaking

Indeed initially I was fearful to address the public. Most of the time I do have some uneasiness before a speech. I believe it is normal. With the training in Toastmasters it has become easier…A leader must possess communications skills to lead!

Are you lacking confidence when it comes to speaking out in public? Does the thought of public speaking grip you with fear? Would you like to eliminate this fear and give confident, successful presentations? Well, direct your focus onto these nine top tips to success and watch those nerves evaporate away.

#1: Deep breathing:
Nerves = Stress = Increased heart rate. 10 minutes before you go on stage, concentrate on your breathing, aiming to take long, deep drawn out breaths. This will slow your heart rate down, and relay messages to your brain that say “Hang-on, I feel okay! I’m not too nervous, this will be fine”. Obviously when you are up on stage however, do not suddenly stop mid-speech to administer your breathing exercises…or your audience may think you’re a few crayons short of a box.

#2: Know your audience wants you to succeed:
Imagine your audience thinking positive thoughts about you as you stand up in front of them. Don’t ever imagine them thinking negatively about you. These negative thoughts will only stand to make you feel even more nervous. If you hold the belief steady in your mind that your audience wants you to be great, your nervousness and fear of public speaking may go away.

#3: Turn your nervousness into excitement:
Frequently, the only difference between the physical sensations we feel when we experience excitement or fear, is just the label we stamp it with. Change this label from fear to excitement and you can turn your nervousness into a positive energy. Getting up on that stage should get you excited and energized!

#4Eat the right foods:
The morning before your presentation, eat a good high protein breakfast. It will keep you going throughout the day, and you’ll have fed your mind and body the proper fuel to work effectively while up on stage.

#5 Visualisation:
Go through the whole presentation in your mind, and visualise it going smoothly and successfully, just how you want it to. When you get up on stage, imagine it has already happened once before, and relax in the knowledge it is going to pan out perfectly. All Olympic athletes use this technique before their events, and it works equally well with public speaking.

#6 Don’t make changes to your material:
NEVER make massive changes to your speech 24 hours before. Re-writing your content at the last minute will only serve to make you feel unprepared and unsettled – cue more nerves. You don’t want to be stuck in a situation where you’re pretty much giving an impromptu talk…

#7. Memorize your opener and close:
These are the bits your audience will remember afterwards. The most important thing they’ll remember is your closing and second most important thing they’ll remember is your opener. Never start with, “Hello” or “Good Morning.” Boring! Start instead with something like a quote or statistic, which relates to your topic. This will immediately grab their attention, and make them think “Hey, this is a bit different!” Two minutes each for an opener and a close is plenty.

#8 Include Variety:
Adding variety into your speech will help prevent you turning into a nervous monotonal wreck. Examples include the addition of humour, quotes, stories, paired and group activities, pauses, audience participation in the question and answer period, and slides or other multimedia. These different factors will not only help you focus on something other than your nerves, but it’ll make your speech a LOT more entertaining.

#9 Imagine a one-one conversation:
Start to take the attitude that you’re speaking one-on-one with different members of the audience. While giving your talk, imagine you are just explaining it to one person at a time. People talking to large groups tend to speak a lot more robotically than they do when speaking to just one or two people. So take this on board and you’ll start to talk in a more natural, personal manner, as you would in a conversation.

Feeling confident speaking to a large crowd is within your reach, providing you take action and practice the tips given to you in this article. Don’t give up just because one or two techniques didn’t work for you, everyone’s mind works in different ways. Just try another. Becoming a confident speaker is not just a pipe dream – you learned to feel scared of public speaking somewhere along the line, and you can unlearn it. Use these strategies to start becoming a better you today.

Grace Miller has put together a complimentary report on public speaking that gives special techniques to cure even the worst nerves.