Public Speaking Tips
Many people would rather jump out of an airplane or tackle Mount
Everest than stand up in front of a group of people and give a
speech! Yikes! But nervousness is natural. Even a very
experienced professional speaker will get butterflies before an
A lot of what you feel in this situation is simply the
adrenaline of excitement. Still, the last thing you want is to
be visibly trembling in front of your audience.
There are very specific ways to calm yourself down and keep your
nerves in check. Deep breathing and relaxation exercises are
wonderful. But there is absolutely nothing that will calm your
nerves faster than being prepared!
You need to know your material so well that you can speak about
it off the top of your head sideways and upside down. In fact,
it's great if you know the material well enough to recite it, as
long as you don't actually recite it. Just know it well enough
that it's completely ingrained in your mind. You'll feel so
confident that you'll sound absolutely natural. You'll be able
handle anything unexpected that comes your way, and you'll be
able to answer any questions and speak to you audience as if
they're old friends.
Practice In Front of Others
Preparation isn't limited to your knowledge of your subject,
however. You need to feel just as confident about the way you
present yourself. This means practice, practice, and more
practice - and not just in the shower or in front of the mirror.
Practicing in front of a mirror can be helpful to start, but it
gives you no idea how you'll feel when someone else is in the
room. Start out by practicing for your spouse or a friend. Then,
get a group of people together, and make a video of your
performance. Ask your friends to bring their friends, and give
your speech a try with some strangers present.
Ask your guests to tell you what they think of your abilities,
and ask them to be honest. Most importantly, ask them to tell
you how they felt while you were speaking. Did they stay
interested? If not, when did their minds wander? Did you inspire
them? If it's more comfortable for everyone, you can ask your
guests to write down their thoughts anonymously.
Watch the videotape, and make whatever adjustments you need in
order to improve your performance. Better yet, hire a
professional coach to give you public speaking training. You
don't have to be perfect, but a true professional speaker never
stops making improvements.
Follow These Public Speaking Tips
In the meantime, here are some very helpful public speaking tips
that every good public speaker knows!
1. Check out the room ahead of time to make sure you know where
everything is located, how the microphone works, and how loud
you will need to speak to be heard in the back of the room.
2. Keep a timer of some kind available so that you will know
when your time is up. Whatever you do, don't look at your watch.
Your audience will think you'd rather be somewhere else!
3. If you make an error, don't make a big deal of it. Just keep
going. Your audience will feel relieved to know you're just as
human as they are.
4. A great way to alleviate nerves is to make eye contact with
specific people in the audience. If one person gives you a blank
stare, move on to someone more receptive.
5. Wear appropriate clothes that show your personality, and most
importantly, that feel comfortable! Nothing is worse than
discomfort due to tight or scratchy clothes. And if your shoes
will show beneath a podium, wear nice ones! For women, it may be
best to wear a pantsuit. Bare legs can be a distraction.
Public speaking can be very rewarding. If you want to do it, all
you need to do is learn the ropes and believe in yourself!