When you think of the things that scare you the most, giving a public speech is probably among the top. How can you learn to overcome fear and be confident in your public speaking skills? It’s unnerving to stand before a bunch of people, whether you know them or not, and give an address. Still, your job or circumstances in life may require you to stand before a group and give a speech.
20 Ways to Become Confident in Your Public Speaking Skills
If you feel sick to your stomach, sense impending doom, and want to run away and hide when it comes to giving speeches, you’re not alone. Here are 20 suggestions for you to consider that will make it easier for you.
1. Improve Your Public Speaking Skills Via Thorough Preparation
Preparation is vital to your speech’s success. You’ll be less likely to be nervous if you’ve planned what you’re going to say. This moment isn’t a time when you should procrastinate.
Efficient planning can give you the confidence you need to communicate with your audience. Even the untrained listener can distinguish between someone who prepared for the event and someone who “wings it.” Giving an excellent public speech take practice and preparation.
2. What’s Your Purpose?
Someone’s asked you to speak before a group, and your nerves are a train wreck. Public speaking skills become more manageable when you take time to think and plan. Your first item of business is to decide the purpose of your speech.
According to an article published by Debate US, there are four basic types of speeches: informative, persuasive, demonstrative, and memorable occasions. Informative speeches provide your audience with helpful information and advice.
If you are presenting a persuasive speech, you are imparting information as well as your opinion. The purpose of a demonstrative speech is to explain to the audience how something is done. A memorable occasion speech is often a wedding toast, a eulogy, or personal sentiments offered to an honored guest.
3. Choose a Subject You Enjoy
Of course, you don’t always get the privilege of choosing your subject matter for a public speech. If you are making a presentation for school or work, you’ll probably have an assigned subject. Unfortunately, you may have to discuss a topic that you know little about or seems boring to you.
If you have the option of choosing a subject, pick one that you enjoy and can discuss knowledgeably. You’ll be more at ease, and the audience will pick up on your enthusiasm. It will also be a public speech that will be easier to prepare.
4. Narrow Your Subject
Most high school writing classes include a section about how to tell if your subject is too general. Public speaking skills overlap with good writing skills. It would help if you also made any broad subject more specific for a more concise speech.
For example, you may want to discuss pollution. That’s such a broad subject that it would never fit in a fifteen to twenty-minute speech. However, focusing on a specific part of pollution, such as plastic waste in the ocean, is doable. You are the expert! So pick a more narrow topic allows you to provide more information in the right amount of time.
5. Write Out Your Speech
When you make a habit of writing out your presentation, it will help improve your public speaking skills. It’s also a formidable tool that can ease your fears while you’re talking. Writing your speech will also make it less likely that you’ll forget an important point.
Some public speakers like to write their speeches on index cards to use during their lectures. Just make sure to edit your writing for proper grammar and correct organization.
6. Rehearse in Front of a Mirror to See Your Public Speaking Skills in Practice
Now that you’ve written and edited your speech, it’s time to practice it. The more you familiarize yourself with the content, you’ll be more confident on the day of the address. If you’re a little nervous about doing it in front of people at first, try rehearsing in front of a mirror.
When an audience sees a speaker with good posture and confident expressions, they will listen carefully. Work on proper pronunciation, tone, and appropriate hand gestures. After you’re comfortable with the mirror, you may try doing your speech for a couple of trusted friends or family members.
7. Discuss Your Equipment Needs Beforehand
Public speaking skills often require knowledge of media and other public presentation equipment. Using presentation programs like Powerpoint, use words and graphics to give your audience a better understanding of your subject.
Maybe you’ll be showing slides or need a table for a display. Be sure to have all your equipment ready well in advance. Practice with the presentation program to become more comfortable with it.
8. Visit the Setting (Less Worrying About the Technology Empowers You To Focus on Your Public Speaking Skills)
Before your big day, consider visiting where you’ll be presenting your speech. People with good public speaking skills are familiar with their settings, so there are no surprises. Is it a large auditorium, a small conference room, or an outdoor stage?
Will you have plenty of electrical outlets and Wi-Fi for your equipment? Is there room for a table display? All these things need to be decided beforehand to make your speech a success.
9. Visualize Your Success
If addressing an audience gives you the jitters, why not call on the Universe for help? Try to visualize yourself standing confidently at the podium and talking with ease. You are sending positive affirmations into the Universe, which will attract more positive results your way.
10. Dress for Success
Before you even say the first word of a public address, the audience is forming an impression. Unless you’re among friends and family, it will be a first impression that will dictate how the audience receives your speech. Therefore, it’s a must that you look your best.
Of course, you want to dress appropriately for the occasion. While not all events call for formal dress, you can’t go wrong with dressing professionally. A shirt and tie if you’re a man or a business outfit if you’re a lady work fine.
11. Arrive Early
When it’s your day to make the speech, you don’t need anything else to make you nervous. That includes running into the room at the last minute or, worse, being late. It would be in poor taste, and it would overshadow your entire presentation.
Plan and have everything set up the night before the big day. Press your clothes and have them ready. Try to arrive at least a half-hour early to account for any surprises like traffic or malfunctioning equipment.
12. If Needed, Prepare an Introduction
Are you a guest of honor or an expert presenter whom the audience hasn’t met? If you are introducing yourself to the audience, you can mention the same information. Make it brief and avoid sounding too self-promoting. You want to build a quick rapport with your listeners with genuineness and sincere humility.
13. Meditate Before Your Day
Even those who have years of experience and good public speaking skills get nervous. A helpful tool that many of them recommend is meditation. You can use it to ease your tension and focus on what you want to say.
Each day before your speech, take time to sit quietly in your sacred space. Focus on the intent of your address and allow negative thoughts to dissipate. Try to be mindfully present while you talk.
14. Speak Clearly and Audibly
It doesn’t matter if you have some of the best thoughts in the world if your listeners can’t understand you. Practice speaking clearly and try to enunciate words naturally and correctly. Adjust your voice volume according to the sound system and ensure that people clear in the back can hear you.
15. Don’t Admit You’re Nervous
Have you ever heard the old motto that tells you never to let others see you sweat? It’s another way of saying not to let your nerves get the best of you. Use the law of attraction and be confident in your public speaking.
16. Focus Right Over the Audience’s Heads
Does it make you feel unnerved when you’re giving a presentation, and all eyes are on you? While it’s impossible to make good eye contact with everyone in a large group, you can give the appearance of doing so. Just focus right above everyone’s head, and each person will feel like you are addressing them personally.
17. Remember to Smile and Be Enthusiastic
Those who have excellent public speaking skills have learned how to connect with their audience emotionally. You do that by smiling and being enthusiastic when appropriate. Show the audience your openness and passion for what you’re saying, and it will be contagious.
18. Use Humor When It’s Appropriate (A Joke Can Really Highlight Your Public Speaking Skills)
One of the classic ways of breaking the ice while giving a speech is humor. It will ease your tension if you do it tastefully at the right time, and the audience will find you more attractive. Remember to use humor wisely and avoid anything that could be offensive.
19. Ask For Constructive Feedback
How do you feel after your presentation? It’s hard to judge your speeches subjectively, so ask a trusted friend or mentor for feedback. They have your best interests at heart and give you honest, constructive criticism to help you in future presentations.
20. Practice Makes Progress When It Comes to Public Speaking Skills
After you’ve spoken on several occasions, you’ll develop more confidence in your public speaking skills. It is a skill that only gets better the more you practice. Soon, you may anticipate the chance to make presentations.
Final Thoughts on Confronting Your Fears and Improve Your Public Speaking Skills
At some time in your life, you’ll need to speak in front of an audience. Whether it’s for work or a special occasion in your family, it can make you nervous. Try using these and other valuable tips, and you’ll feel more comfortable in the spotlight.