Anyone can become a charismatic public speaker.
But how do you muster up the courage and confidence to stride onto the stage to give your presentation? How do you prevent your fears from taking over?
Don't worry. Fear is a physical experience you can manage.
There are tips you need to follow to decrease your fear of public speaking.
Don't Stress Yourself
A minute before you start your presentation or speech, you are bound to feel nervous.
Do not stress yourself. Instead, stay positive. Learn to visualize a positive outcome for your presentation. Also, you can try deep belly breathing to calm you down and improve your confidence.
Drink Warm Water
Did you know that the temperature of the water you drink can greatly affect your ability to speak?
Before speaking in front of your audience, try squeezing half a lemon into warm or room temperature water. This will help to lubricate your throat. Sugary and sweet beverages will just dry out your mouth and make it extremely challenging for you to talk.
Prepare Your Speech
One of the most important things you can do to tame your fears of speaking in front of an audience is to come prepared. This means you have to know your material like the back of your hand.
Make sure you have set up properly in advance and have prepared for questions. Additionally, it pays to know when to relax especially if things are not working well.
For example, do not panic if the microphone or audio is not working. To help you not forget anything, make checklists. You can also practice with a dry run. Enlist people you trust to give you constructive criticism so you can perfect your speech.
Do Not Memorize
Memorizing will only do you more harm than good. Mastering how to speak in public means that whatever comes out of your mouth should not be memorized. Instead, you should learn it by heart.
Memorizing your speech word for word is dangerous because you may lose your train of thought once you forget even a single word. To help you, try to remember the key points of your speech. Then, keep the subtopics in mind and the examples you will cover.
Practice Your Breathing
You may think that breathing has no bearing on your speech. However, you cannot be any farther from the truth. Breathing is one of the most important things you need to master if you want to become a successful public speaker.
When you have figured out how to breathe properly, you will improve your voice quality and you will sound more relaxed. Learn to breathe calmly and try to get into a rhythm. Breathwork will also do wonders to reduce your stress and improve your cognitive abilities. By being more relaxed, you can ease your body and look less tense.
Learn How to Engage
A monologue presentation can be a bit boring. If you notice that your audience is getting bored, this can add to your fears.
Remember that speeches should be a two-way interaction. Encourage your audience to participate and ask questions throughout your speech.
This way, you can become more confident and reduce the boredom of others. Having more input will also give you ample time to reorganize your thoughts.
Find a Friend
Before you speak in public, you can introduce yourself to some people seated in the front row. By focusing on these people, you can ease your nervousness and connect with your audience more.
Do Not Think of Rejection
The main reason why you might fear speaking in public is that you are afraid of getting rejected. You might be wondering what you would do if people hate your speech, or if someone boos you while on stage. Keep in mind that your audience is there to listen to you.
Overthinking the potential reaction of your audience is of no benefit. There will always be someone in the audience who looks bored. The reaction of a single audience member has nothing to do with your personality or speech.
Every time you speak, it is recommended to follow a certain flow or rhythm. To do this, keep your sentences short and straight to the point. Also, learn to repeat your key points.
A short pause in between sentences and points will also add to your audience's anticipation of what you will say next.
Practice in the Mirror
A mirror should be your best friend. Keep practicing in front of the mirror and imagine you are talking to an audience.
Do not just pay attention to your speech.
Also focus on your gestures, facial expressions, and body language. Aspire to have a calm demeanor.
This way, your audience would feel welcomed.
Listen to Your Voice
Using a recorder, your phone, or video camera, record yourself as you practice your speech from the beginning to end. Then, watch or listen to it several times. If you notice that something is off, l work on it.
Many people do not like to hear their voice on tape, so it is vital that you get used to your voice and speaking style.
Work with Few Slides
If you are accompanying your speech with slides, remember that fewer slides are better. Although the brain allocates resources to processing virtual information, having too much visual material can present a problem. Fewer slides create a bigger punch.
People need to look at you when you talk, not your visuals. This way, your words will have greater effect.
Take Public Speaking Classes
If all else fails, do not hesitate to find a great coach or mentor. There are tons of groups you can join if you want to become a better public speaker. Through this, you can meet individuals who can inspire you.
Fear Is Normal: Learn to Embrace It!
Did you know that even the great Warren Buffet had speaking anxiety? He overcame his fear by forcing himself to talk to other people. By practicing this skill, you too can become a compelling and fearless speaker.