There are many occasions, some of them quite unexpected, when you are tossed in the spotlight and expected to communicate and perform. It can be a terrifying experience for many. Public speaking is one of the most common phobias. The good news is that everyone can experience and become better with public speaking.
Know what you are speaking about
Information does not have to be first hand. In fact, it may be better when you are not speaking personally about you or used third person phrases. Research and prepare with a lot of accurate information before you put your thoughts into words. It really is not about you as much as the message that you are trying to portray.
Make a good first impression
The first 30 seconds of the speech is all the time you are allotted to make a first impression. Justin Clark, a life coach, was on the the spur of a moment to give a short 15 minute speech on the power of meditation. The first two minutes of his speech made the audience very uncomfortable and set up his time to gather his thoughts perfectly. What Justin really needed was a minute to think and he used it wisely.
He walked up to the podium and said, “Thank for this great opportunity to create an experience for us.” (His heart was racing. He was uncomfortable and he had no idea what he was going to say.)
“Ladies and Gentlemen, I have a great fear that we have become a society that fears silence.” He glanced at this watch and began searching the audience for the individuals he was going to communicate with. This narrowed the crowd down to 5 people spread out through the group. He gathered his thoughts and came up with a quick plan, all while the audience stewed.
He had swapped his fear. The audience was nervous and he had used that precious time to breath deeply, select his audience and put his thoughts together.
“Did that silence make you uncomfortable and if it did are you afraid to admit it? Fear is the place where all great ideas are born.” He had the audience in his hand.
Be in character
Create a character, a persona, like an actor would. Practice in character. It is much like putting on a protective mask. It is a shield that can help with fear and anxiety. You are protected. What the audience sees and hears is not you, but a character.
Visualize and practice
Rehearsals are an excellent way to prepare. Visualize varied versions of the same speaking experience, all versions visualized with be successful. If the microphone breaks, no worries you visualized a way around the problem and it was a success. If you feel a little light headed, all is well. You worked this out all before the speech began and you will finish just fine. The goal is to get the audience to receive the message.
Props and equipment
The less things you have to deal with, the fewer mistakes and breakdowns may happen. In the beginning try to keep extra things to a minimum.
Keep accepting speaking opportunities
Public speaking is an excellent skill to have. It will help boost confidence in all social situations. Say yes when you are asked and prepare for success.
Most great speakers are nervous, at least right before they begin. It is normal. Work through the first three times and the rest are simply cake walks. Nervous tension can turn into excitement and the message is relayed.