Some people are able to stand up and give a speech without a second thought. Others are petrified at the thought of public speaking. You may be a capable public speaker, or it may be one of your biggest fears. In either case, the following advice may be of use to you.
Try to relax before and during your speech. Breathe deeply and remember that you are well-prepared, so you have nothing to worry about. Some say that it helps to envision your audience members in their underwear to help you relax. This sort of visualization can help you look and feel more relaxed while speaking.
Do not use a laser pointer to run over words as you read them from a screen. This gives your audience the idea that you think they are incapable of reading for themselves. Once they begin to feel insulted, it will be much harder for you to convince them to listen to you.
Never tell the audience that you’re sorry for being nervous or any other issue that comes up. Chances are they didn’t even notice in the first place. Even if they do, coming across as lacking in confidence detracts from your position of authority on your speech that you are making.
Always wear comfortable clothes for a speaking engagement. Even if you must wear a suit or formal dress, be sure your clothing fits properly and does not make you feel too hot. Choose modest clothing for speaking in public, and make sure all fasteners and buttons hold securely so that you do not experience wardrobe malfunction.
Don’t leap right into your topic. Be sure to start your speech with a nice greeting for your audience. This will help put everyone at ease. It also gives you a chance to settle into position and prepare yourself to speak. Of course, it is also simply the most polite thing to do.
It is a good idea to use slides as a visual aid, but do not allow this to be the largest part of your presentation. If people notice that there is more on the slides than what is coming from your mouth, they will lose interest before you know it.
When speaking to a large audience, you need to project confidence with a voice that is strong and easily understood. Bring some water to the podium if it’s allowed. Do not drink milk or soda on the day on which you are making your speech. These fluids could thicken your saliva when delivering the speech. Have a nice mug of hot tea to ease your vocal chords.
When it comes time to make a speech in a public place, try to arrive early. This can help you become better acquainted with your surroundings. Getting familiar with the layout of the room, the microphones, and the other speech aids that are available in that room can help you become more relaxed before speaking.
Try to find humor in the situation if things do not go as planned. There are many variables when you speak in public, which means that there are many opportunities for things to go wrong. The microphone or projector may not work, there may be an interruption in power or someone may enter the room in the midst of your speech. Try to take things in stride. Taking things too seriously can result in you having a meltdown, so try to laugh off any issues that may arise.
Consider your appearance. The audience is not likely to listen to you when your state of dress or grooming skills are distracting. Consider your audience when you think about what you are going to wear. Suits work well in for most speeches, but consider something more casual when speaking to younger audiences.
Prior to making a speech, get the audience on your side. You should not take it as always starting a speech with a joke. You can tell anecdotes that are relative to your speech. Remember this step so you can connect with the crowd.
If you are scheduled to make a speech, arrive at your venue at least half an hour early. This will give you a chance to set up, to practice and perhaps to relax a bit. If you rush in just a few minutes before your speech, you will not have time to prepare.
Avoid nervous gestures and mannerisms. Don’t cross your arms or rattle your keys in your pocket. Use your hands to convey your points, but not too much. You don’t want to distract or annoy your audience by waving your arms around. Get a friend to watch you rehearse your speech to identify any gestures or movements that may be problematic.
Practice as often as you can before it is time to speak to the crowd. Practice in front of a mirror and make changes if anything sounds awkward. Then, use people in your life as test subjects and ask them for a critique. Practicing your speech helps you perfect the words and the delivery.
Open your speech by telling a story. This story can be from a personal experience or a hypothetical story. Putting a human touch on the story will have the audience members relate to what your saying, and have their attention. When making your story, avoid anecdotes that some might find offensive.
Include examples and stories into your speech as illustrations. This will make your audience more interested in the information you are presenting. By including information about your family through stories and illustrations, the audience will see you as a person instead of another guest speaker. Limit the stories to one or two for best results.
Avoid creating physical barriers between yourself and your audience. While you may feel more comfortable hiding behind a podium, this limits your effectiveness. Audience members may tire of keeping their eyes glued to one spot, and they are likely to lose interest. By moving around during your speech, you hold the audience’s interest and appear more dynamic.
Whether you enjoy public speaking or are afraid of giving speeches, you should have found some useful advice in this article. Being able to speak in public is a very useful skill, so be sure to reflect upon these tips frequently. Doing so can really pay off in many different situations.