Whether it’s presenting in a team meeting or in front of an audience at a conference, we all have to speak in public at some point in our careers. And if you’re the type of person who feels physically ill at the mere thought of speaking in front of a group of people, then you’ve come to the right place as here we discuss some tips and tricks to help you build your confidence and conquer the fear of public speaking.
1. Practice and prepare
Sounds obvious, we know, but regular practise is the best way to build up your skills. Whether it’s a formal presentation to the chief executive, a strategy plan to the head of development or a casual thank you to friends for arranging a party, try to practise speaking publicly as much as you can. And prepare, prepare, and prepare. Plan what you are going to say, go over your note several times and don’t be afraid to add in as many prompters as you need. Record yourself and watch it back with a friend or two.
2. Feeling the nerves? That’s okay
It’s completely natural to feel nervous before you make a speech or deliver a presentation, but don’t let the nerves take over. Accept the butterflies in your stomach, embrace them, and don’t let them eat you up. Trying to fight with your nerves can destroy your confidence.
3. Know your audience
Your speech/presentation is for your audience. Don’t think about yourself when you’re creating it and presenting it; instead focus on who the message is intended for. Learn as much as you can about your listeners and viewers – this will make the whole experience easier and less stressful for you. When you know your audience, you know the type of language they speak and the type of content they’re interested in, your confidence will soar.
4. Get comfortable with the environment
Get to know your stage. Visit the location and get familiar with it as much as you can before the event. This will help you feel more comfortable and secure when your big day finally arrives.
5. Don’t be so hard on yourself
Not every speech and presentation are going to run smoothly, there’ll be times when you’ll miss a slide or your voice catches in your throat or you’ll simply forget your points. Don’t spend the rest of the day/week/month/lifetime beating yourself up about it. Just keep going.
6. Try to read less
It’s important to stay connected to your audience throughout your presentation so don’t continuously read from your notes and slides. Maintain eye contact as much as possible.