Public speaking gets a bad rap. Most people have experienced the anxiety and fear that can come with glossophobia, or the fear of public speaking. The good news is that it is possible to be fearless while standing up in front of people. All you have to do is follow these three public speaking tips.
- Prepare all of your material: It’s tough to stay on track when you don’t have a clear direction. Establishing what you want to accomplish while speaking will help you stay focused. Know how much time you have so you know how much content you’ll need. Once you’ve gathered your content, organize everything so it flows together cohesively. A simple yet effective format you can follow is to break up your presentation into three sections—a beginning, a middle, and an end. Having three categories will help you sort out the ideas you need to share. While it may seem like a tedious task, proper preparation leads to great execution. Abraham Lincoln once said, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree, and I will spend the first four sharpening the ax.”
- Practice, practice, practice: After you’ve prepared all of your material, practice delivering it. One way you can practice is to stand in front of a camera and record yourself giving your presentation. When reviewing the recording of yourself, pay attention to your posture and eye contact. Focus on speaking calmly and confidently. Your nonverbal messages can impact your audience just as much as what you have to say. When you record yourself, you will be able to see at what points of your presentation you become uncomfortable or lose track of where you are. You will also be able to see which transitions you need to work on or which ideas you’ll need to expound on. Practice and record your presentation several times. The more you practice, the more kinks you’ll be able to work out as you make note of what you need to work on.
- Breathe and have confidence: You’ve worked hard to be ready for your presentation. You’ve prepared all of your material ahead of time and recorded your presentation rehearsals on camera. Now it’s time to share what you’ve worked on. Take a moment to breathe before you take the stage. Like a basketball player dribbling before shooting a free throw, take a minute to gather yourself. Stand with confidence—you’re ready for this moment. Don’t rush through your material, and keep the same pace that you practiced. Moving at a familiar pace will help you stay calm and focused while sharing your big ideas.
Applying these 3 tips will make your next public speaking opportunity more productive and focused—and much less painful. Preparing your material, practicing your presentation, and pacing yourself while speaking will give you the confidence you need to deliver when it’s game time.