For so many people today, no fear is quite as overwhelming, stressful, or anxiety-producing as the fear of public speaking. However, there are many people with a genuine fear of public speaking who must still face the music, get up in front of groups of people, and speak to their audience.
For many people, ranging from educators to religious figures, public speaking in an inevitable part of the job, but it doesn’t have to be as overwhelming as it seems. They just need a few public speaking tips, is all.
Some people with a fear of public speaking simply feel uncomfortable with the concept. There are even more people, however, who wish they could hone their skills to be better at speaking in front of others, but don’t have the opportunity to practice. No matter where you fall on the spectrum, and whether or not public speaking is a fear or a passion, there are ways that you can completely change the way you look at speaking in public; that way, you can improve your skills and become a more seasoned, comfortable, and professional-sounding public speaker.
9 Game-Changing Public Speaking Tips
These nine public speaking tips will change everything you feel and know about speaking in public and give you a fresh perspective on this art form.
1. Focus More on The Voice Instead of the Message
There are so many public speakers that focus all of their attention on crafting the right message and making certain they are delivering new, fresh, and exciting content to their audience. However, the truth of the matter is, there is very little “new” advice that one person can give another.
Instead of focusing on the novelty of the message, focus on your voice and what makes you unique. Look for ways to draw upon and relay insights from your own experience, instead on the message alone. This will let your message shine through and help it resonate with your audience.
2. View Public Speaking as the Performance It is
When it comes down to it, public speaking is just a performance, no real different than when an actor steps onto the stage. If you are having trouble mustering up the confidence you need to speak in public, make sure that you are viewing your speech as the performance that it is. You can pretend to be someone else on stage when you speak; you can pretend to be someone who is more poised and confident— someone who thrives while speaking in public.
Think of the last time you dressed up as someone else. Being someone else, even if it only for a costume party, has a certain liberating feeling. It helps you let your guard down. That same feeling can be applied to your speech if you just put yourself in the right mindset. You can even go as far as creating a new name or persona for your public speaking self. Beyonce did it when she went on stage as Sasha Fierce (but has since been able to grow beyond Sasha), and you can do it, too.
3. Keep It Simple
There are so many public speakers that attempt to cram so much into each individual presentation. This often causes speakers to speed up, rush, and try to get everything out in a timely manner. Slow down, and keep your message simple. It is better to deliver less information that people can actually follow and understand than to try to put as much content as possible into a shorter time frame.
If you are already feeling nervous about public speaking, trying to do too much at once will only make it worse.
4. Look at it From the Audience’s Perspective
If you are one of those people who take public speaking very seriously, whether it is because it is part of your profession, or just because it makes you nervous, it can cause you to think about speaking only from your perspective. This is a mistake.
It can be easy to think “how will this make me look?” or “what can I do better?” Public speaking is not about you. It is about your audience.
Instead of thinking how you will look and sound, or making your speech about you, make it about your audience. Think about who is in your crowd. Put yourself in their shoes and determine what you would want to hear if you were them. It will not only make your speech better but it will also give you confidence knowing you are delivering a message people want to hear.
5. Study Great Speeches
If you have ever heard a speech that moved you before or if you have heard of someone else enjoying a particular speech, get the transcript. You can learn so much from studying the transcript of a speech. Look at the construction of the speech and the set up. How does it open? How does it flow through the body? What is the closing like? What did the speaker do to engage their audience?
If you need some inspiration, here is a list of some of the greatest speeches of all time.
For most people, public speaking isn’t just a skill they were born with. It is something that they learn and acquire over time.
6. Film Yourself
The first thing to remember about practicing public speaking is that you can’t just practice in your head. As well, reading your speech aloud is not the same thing as practicing it in person.
If you really want to improve your skills so you feel more confident in your public speaking abilities, then film yourself while you are speaking.
This way you can re-watch yourself, look at your eye contact, really listen to your pacing, and tweak how you deliver your speech from there. This is one step above practicing in the mirror, and there is no better way to truly hone your skills so you can get better.
7. Be Realistic About Your Weaknesses and Highlight Your Strengths
No public speaker is perfect. Not even the professionals.
If you want to change your attitude about public speaking and change your approach, then you need to be realistic with yourself about your strengths and weaknesses. Know what your strengths are, and accentuate and highlight those strengths when you deliver your speech. If you are great at stories—use them! If you having great comedic timing—use it!
You also need to be realistic about your weaknesses and do your best to avoid the things that take away from your speech. If you aren’t funny, don’t try to be. Just because you like someone else’s speaking style, it doesn’t mean that it will work for you. Know what you’re good at and stick to it.
8. Just Smile
There is nothing as powerful as a smile and nothing as simple either. Smile before you head on stage. Smile as your audience filters into the room and smile during your speech. When you take a moment to smile, it naturally brings a feeling of confidence and relaxation over your entire body.
Smiling at someone in your audience can help you feel calmer, and less nervous, while helping you feel more connected to the audience that you are speaking to. It is really that simple—so give it a try
9. Be Realistic About Your Expectations
One of the biggest reasons people get disappointed with their public speaking engagements is because they are unrealistic about how it will go. Before you ever step in front of an audience, you need to be realistic about what to expect from your crowd and what your crowd expects from you. This will help you be more confident after your speech ends and you can use this for your next engagement.
For example, if you are giving a presentation on stock numbers in front of your fellow employees, chances are it isn’t going to be the type of motivating speech that brings people to tears and renders a standing ovation. You may not even get a clap, and that is alright. Know what to expect so that you can feel better about the outcome in the end.
So, now you have some great tips try, what will your next public speech be about?
Let us know in the comments below!