The next time a public speaking assignment comes up, give yourself a confidence-boosting peptalk.
The thought of public speaking is enough to make most of us feel a little weak in the knees. Afterall, learning to confidently express our ideas orally takes some practice. The more timid or shy among us may feel it would take a miracle to address a classroom or a lecture hall full of people.
The truth is, though, by investing a little time and effort and following a few simple tips, anyone can succeed at public speaking. At the very least, you’ll be able to get through your presentation without the smelling salts!
How You Can Succeed at Public Speaking
1) Focus on your material
Avoid thinking about the impression you’re making or the grades you’ll get for your presentation. Instead, focus on sharing your material in a sincere and unaffected way. A positive response will usually follow if an audience can see that your heart is in your words and if they can hear the enthusiasm in your voice.
2) Be Yourself
Speaking in the same manner you use everyday will help you come across as natural and will immediately put your audience at ease. A conversational style of delivery engages your listeners. When you see them paying rapt attention to your presentation, you’ll feel more relaxed. So instead of trying to copy the styles of other public speakers, whether it’s a famous CEO or the person sitting next to you in class, just be yourself.
3) Breathe deeply and pause often
A speaker knows when he or she is nervous. Hearing the terror in your own voice will only cause tension to increase. It’s a vicious circle. Learn to slow down and relax. Breathe deeply to fill the lower part of your lungs, then practice exhaling in a slow, controlled manner. Short, shallow breathing will cause you to run out of air and to speak too fast. Consciously try to relax your whole body, including your throat, neck and shoulders.
As ironic as it may sound, a lot of practice will make your presentation seem spontaneous and unrehearsed. However, this is only true if you become familiar with your key ideas. Memorizing your speech word for word is usually not the best method. It will cause you to become too concerned with exact wording and will make your delivery seem stiff and formal.
The next time a public speaking assignment comes up, give yourself a confidence-boosting peptalk. You can succeed if you focus on your material and be yourself. Practice until you feel comfortable with your subject’s main ideas. When you find yourself standing in front of a crowd, breathe deeply, relax and get ready to talk your way to the top of the class!