At the beginning of this month I spoke at a women’s networking group about blogging. A few years ago public speaking is something which would have made me nervous and anxious. Over the years I have been able to overcome this, for the most part and although I am still learning, it’s something I have come to enjoy. Here are five of my tips to help you become a better public speaker.
For many people public speaking is worse than death. The thought of standing in front a group, no matter how large or small, can be absolutely terrifying. For me I used to go red and stumble through my words which then led to embarrassment. I feel one of the best ways to prevent this is to be prepared. Everything comes back to this. If you know your subject matter and can be an authority about what you are talking about it will make life much easier than trying to wing it on the day.
Spending time practicing what you are going to say is important. I spend time writing out the key points I want to make, then practice speaking and sometimes changing the order. Keep practicing until you feel confident with the subject and the order you will be presenting your information. This is especially important if you have a time limit to your talk as you want to make sure you can fit all of your key points in and not be rushed at the end, likewise you don’t want to be trying to fill the time – This also fits back into being prepared.
Confidence can come in many ways, being prepared and practicing will help with your confidence. I also find my confidence is boosted by making sure my nails are painted and I feel my hair and makeup look nice – This may be superficial to some but feeling confident in your own skin will help when all eyes are on you. Find what makes you feel confident and do it before you start, saying some positive affirmations or listening to your favourite upbeat song are some examples to get you in the zone!
Spending time watching other people at events or online is another great way to improve your own public speaking skills. See what things others speakers do which you like or don’t like. It’s especially good to watch for fidgeting, how people stand and if they ‘um’ a lot. These are all things to work at cutting down on when you are speaking. Ted talks on YouTube are also great places to be inspired and motivated as they have many incredible speakers on stage.
This may be easier said than done but at the end of the day most people in the audience are not wanting you to fail. They don’t know your presentation, so even if you do go wrong nobody will know and people are there to listen you to for information or inspiration, or probably both. Stand tall, smile, take a deep breath and begin!
These are the 5 main tips which I find useful when preparing for my own public speaking events. It’s like anything, once you do it and step out of your comfort zone it may not be as bad as you think! It is something I have learnt to enjoy and as long as I am prepared, have practiced my talk and am feeling confident I know I will be able to do it and enjoy it!
Is public speaking something you enjoy or shy away from? What are your top tips when it comes to public speaking? Share your thoughts below, I’d love to hear them!