Public speaking. What kind of emotions does it evoke in your mind? I know it is the immortal fear of everyone, no matter you will do it for the first time or 50th time. That sweaty feeling is maybe suppressed but never disappears. Being the one who is the center of attention has always been disturbing and trying to perfect while speaking is really challenging. Maybe you’ve heard of Michael M. Klepper’s book, I’d Rather Die than Give a Speech. Don’t think that this is an exaggeration. I know many people who would really prefer that. Maybe you are one of them. Don’t hide there! I’ll try to give you a few tips that will turn you into a perfect, confident speaker. Read this before you give a lecture to be willing to speak in public and write your own history.
1. Believe in yourself
Confidence is the first thing you will need while speaking in front of a crowd. Although we all know that it is not something that comes in a second, your brain has the power to fetch it. Just believe that you can do that and don’t worry about the rest. Imagine yourself giving an incredible lecture and everyone admires you. Your brain will start to make it real.
2. Look blindly at the crowd
Don’t care about the expressions on the people’s face. Try to look blindly at them. Target the crowd as one piece when looking and try not to make a direct eye contact. Otherwise, it may distract you. If you are the one who to speak, you are the one to succeed it.
3. Do breathing exercises
Breathing right may relieve your anxiety by regulating your circulation so doing breathing exercises will help you a lot on feeling confident. You will also have no difficulty while speaking and your voice will be clear. No one can pay attention to a speaker who is speaking with his/her voice quavered or who is left out of breath in the middle of the speech. You can try this and feel the difference. Breathe in through your mouth and hold your breath for 10 seconds. Then slowly exhale. If you are looking for more breathing exercises, you can visit the website of the world famous communication and messaging strategist, Matt Eventoff’s website.
4. Be specific about your topic
Know what you will and you will not talk about. Frame your main topics and try not to exceed this frame. Having as much knowledge as you can about your topic will affect your confidence positively. Decide what your argument is and outline your titles. Getting ready for any kind of questions that you may be asked will make you feel more comfortable when you talk because the thought of someone’s asking a challenging question may really be disturbing. Timing is also worth being mentioned here. Rehearse your speech to be able to time it. Going over time will make a negative impression like finishing your speech earlier will do, too.
5. Be yourself
Just be yourself. Never pretend and speak as you normally do. If you are not a serious kind don’t try to seem so. Or, if you are not into jokes, don’t try to turn your speech into a stand-up show. People will easily understand that it is not you. The time when you feel most confident is when you are being yourself. Nobody is perfect including your audience. So don’t try to make a flawless speech. You can make mistakes like everyone else. Your audience will definitely understand that.
6. Have more information about your audience
Learn who your target audience is before your lecture. Their social and educational status and their average of age will matter. Having this kind of information will help you determine your topics and your tone which will make you a more comfortable and confident speaker.
7. Take notes
No one is not that experienced to speak without notes. Well, I know there are such people but we are not talking about them now. You can take notes about your highlights of your speech to make sure you are never left unguided during your speech. You don’t need the read all the lecture from a piece of paper of course but that paper on which your tips are written will definitely save your life.
8. Be flexible
Don’t think you need to end up just like you planned before. You can change the topics, skip some of them, decide to be more interesting or talk about a thing that you never planned. Let your speech’s flow lead you.
9. Care about what you wear
Dress in your own style to feel comfortable (I don’t mean Hawaiian shirts and shorts of course but you can still keep your style even if you are to dress formal). Follow the dress code if there is, in order not to feel weird and dress accordingly. Checked shirts or bright colors may distract your audience for example. If you want people to pay attention to what you say, not to your look, you’d better be in comfortable and plain clothes.
10. Improve your diction
Diction is the first thing that will catch your audience’s attention. Your intonation, pronunciation and your voice will matter while speaking. If you mispronounce some of the words, or your intonation is tedious, your audience may not be able to follow your speech. Make sure your diction is good enough to be followed before you make your speech. There are some lifesaving exercises for improving your dictation so you don’t need to worry about how to do it. You can check Audrey June Hunt’s article about the power of your speaking voice.
11. Body Language
Your body language will reveal how comfortable and how confident you are while you are speaking. Your gestures should not be too much for it may distract your audience and you need to seem to know where to put your hands and arms! If you need quick tips about using your body language more effectively, TJ Walker's video would do a lot favour to you.
Presentation plays probably the most important role in your speech. Your presentation should be in accordance with your topic and should engage your audience. If your main aim is to catch audience’s attention to you, your slides need not be flashy or too interesting. You don’t want people to engage more with your slides than you and your speech, do you? If your presentation is really important to you, you can have more detailed information about creating a perfect presentation for your speech on Jon Thomas’ page.