Whether we are talking in a team meeting or presenting to a bigger audience, we all have to face public speaking from time to time. Most people can pull this off or screw up badly, and the outcome of the public speaking affects the way what people may think about us. This is why public speaking causes so much concern and anxiety. The good news is that, with thorough practice and preparation, you can overcome this anxiety and perform very good.
The importance of public speaking
Even if you do not make presentations regularly in front of an audience, there are a lot of situations where these speaking skills can help you create opportunities or even advance your career.
For example, you might have to talk to your employees at a conference, teach a class to a new set of recruits or even make a speech after accepting an award. Speaking to an audience also includes online presentations like virtually training a tea, or when speaking to a group of clients in an online meeting.
Good public speaking skills are also important in many other areas of your life. You might be asked to make a speech to inspire a group of volunteers at some charity event, give a speech at a friend’s wedding or even give a eulogy for someone close. In other words, being a good public speaker can increase your reputation and boost your self-confidence.
However, while good public speaking skills can open doors, poor ones can completely close them. After a badly delivered presentation, your boss may decide not to give you that promotion you have been waiting for so long.
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Here are our top tips for public speaking
- Being nervous is normal
All people will feel trembling hands or pounding hearts just before giving a speech. Do not think that if you have these feelings you are likely to perform poorly. Some nerves may be good. The adrenaline rush that makes you sweat can also help you give the best performance. The best way to overcome speech anxiety is by preparing and practicing all the time.
- Know your audience
Before you start creating your speech consider who this speech or message is intended for. Learn as much as you can about your listeners. This will help you determine the level of information, organization pattern, motivational statemen and choice of words you will need.
- Organize your material
Write down the general purpose, the topic, main points, central idea, and specific purpose. You need to make sure that you will grab your audience’s attention in just the first 60 seconds.
- Watch for feedback
After you have caught your audience’s attention you will need to look for feedback. Track their reactions, stay flexible and adjust your speech if needed. Delivering a written speech without any “freestyle” will guarantee that you will lose the attention of your audience.
- Use humor
If you want to grab your audience’s attention then make sure you put some humor in your presentation. Adding a funny anecdote in your speech will give it a personal touch, which most people appreciate.