Here are 10 public speaking tips that will help you if you have to deliver a speech and aren't used to getting up and speaking in front of an audience.
Preparation is vital when you have to speak in public or make a presentation, especially if you suffer from the fear of public speaking. To overcome your anxiety you do need to give yourself the best opportunity to perform well by preparing well.
This will involve practicing your speaking into a microphone at home on your pc or some sort of recording device like a mobile phone and becoming comfortable with the sound of your own voice. Familiarizing yourself with the material you intend delivering is also important and will give you reassurance about your speech or presentation.
2) Work on your posture
Stand tall when practicing your speech and stand tall when you are delivering your speech. The sound of your voice and delivery will be so much better when you stand tall and you can test this yourself at home-record yourself sitting in front of your pc and make a similar recording immediately afterwards from a standing position.
You will see a qualitative difference as your posture is vitally important in your delivery and in your confidence in the sound of your own voice. The best way to stand tall is to imagine that there is a thread coming out of the top of your head pulling you upwards.
Your breathing is a huge factor in how you sound and the feedback from the sound of your voice will instill you with confidence if you sound cool and confident.
You can only do this by ensuring that your breathing is deep and relaxed, not shallow and fast. I would say from my experience that working on my breathing was the single biggest factor in my overcoming my public speaking anxiety.
Really work on sucking air into your diaphragm and remember to do this prior to your delivery.
4) Speak slowly
The vast majority of people, especially those who suffer from public speaking anxiety, speak far too quickly. I am guilty of this myself and the only way to counter it is to practice. If you are a fast talking, fast thinking person like me then you will have to really work to slow it down.
Even though it may sound alien to you to other people it will sound perfectly normal if you have always been prone to speaking too fast.
5) Pauses and voice inflection change
When you are preparing your speech or presentation make sure that you inject plenty of pauses into your speech and color your speech with changing the inflection of your voice. There is nothing worse than a flat, monotone delivery which will ultimately sap your confidence.
Your pauses should tie in with your breathing to ensure that you are speaking on the out breath, not on the intake of breath.
6) Speaking on the out breath
This tip is crucial-you do really have to work on speaking as you breathe out. The expulsion of breath (see tip on breathing at 3 above) as you speak will give your voice a lovely strong projection.
A low pitched voice is much more pleasant to listen to than a high pitched one and emits a signal of confidence to your audience. Your pitch will again be tied in to that most important tip above about your breathing. Remember-deep, shallow breathing is the order of the day.
8) Stay focused on the topic at hand
Be very clear about the topic you are going to address; and then make an outline that has the topic, the supporting points and the conclusion. This is especially important if you have a limited time to get your point across.
9) Use a sense of humor
As long as it appropriate, everyone likes a little bit of a laugh when they are listening to a lecture or a presentation. Humor helps to lighten the mood and also helps the speaker connect with the audience. Humor can be a joke to open your speech, a light-hearted story, or a funny prop.
10) Tell a story to illustrate a point
It is not always effective communication when a speaker merely states a fact or relays some information. It is much easier to make a point if you have a story that illustrates the information and then show how it applies to a real situation. For example, if you are talking about new safety rules in the workplace, tell a story about what happened to an employee who saved a life by following them.
Public speaking secrets Nerves and public speaking are perfectly natural and understandable-controlling those nerves and ensuring a confident appearance and presentation is perfectly achievable with a little training and not allowing your problem to defeat you.
You will eventually discover that there are no hidden public speaking secrets but sound, rational principles such as those outlined above. Effective public speaking and overcoming anxiety in public speaking are eminently achievable goals when you take the right steps to tackle your problem.