We’ve all been there. You’re about to give a presentation for work, a sales pitch to a potential client, or the best man’s speech, and your hands start getting a little sweaty. Public speaking is among the most common factors for stage fright in the United States, and it’s beyond understandable. That’s why we’re here to help you through those uncomfortable times:
Check out the location where you will be speaking prior to the event
Getting comfy in that environment will provide you with confidence, as you get familiar with the space. This way, you can get ready enough to think about how your non-verbal communication will pan out; like knowing if you’re going to be working with or without a mic, if you can move around, just to name a few.
Don’t read unless you absolutely need to
Reading from a notebook or tablet creates an immense barrier with your audience. Maintain eye contact, keep the focus on yourself, as well as on your message. If you really need to write some stuff down, create a brief outline to simply keep you on track, and with the most important speech highlights.
Use your arms and tone wisely
Body language accounts for 55% of communication, and voice tone is right behind with 38%. That being said, be aware of how you use your arms: don’t cross them or have them hanging behind your back. Try to vary your gestures from time to time, and stand in a firm pose, so your shoulders are aligned with your feet. Void any unwanted quivers or cracks that usually happen due to nervousness, or lack of vocal strength, or a combination of both. Proper vocal exercises can make a huge difference in your control and endurance. Check out some hacks here.
Do some diction and articulation exercises beforehand
Let’s be clear about something; good diction is not about sounding posh, it’s about clarity. The age-old solution for this is tongue twisters, trusted because of their effectiveness. Google some and repeat the phrases faster every time. Any time you trip over words, stop and start again. This will strengthen and stretch the muscles involved in speech.
Know your audience
Take the time to do some research on who you will be talking to, and build your speech around it. Knowing the who you’re talking to will shape the way you elaborate your message. Is it to friends and family? Or corporate meeting with the C-level executives? How old are they? What do they like? Once you tailor your speech to the audience, they’ll be much more receptive to the message you give.
Practice your next speech with these 5 tips, and go get ‘em!