Many people have a fear of public speaking. They fear they will not be able to deliver the goods when they get up behind the podium or when the spotlight shines on them. Anyone can learn how to give a good speech by preparing and practicing in advance.
These tips can help you overcome your fear of public speaking.
As soon as you learn you will be speaking, you should begin preparing your speech. Your comfort level depends on the confidence you can build with practice. When you do not have to make it all up on the spot, you will find it easier to face the crowd.
By rehearsing ahead of time, you can also ensure your words fit the time allotted, and you will find solutions to those spots where you tongue stumbles. Preparation does not have to take a lot of time, but the sooner begun, the better chance you have of giving your speech preparation the time it needs.
Many people focus on their speech topic and lose sight of the goal, which is not always the same thing. Your goal is the action you want listeners to take at the end of the speech.
Your topic may be your focus for 95% of your speech, and that is fine, as long as your speech leads up your goal as the logical next step everyone takes at the end.
Consider this: Sally is a gibbon researcher who travels to the US on a fundraising tour. She gives speeches about the behaviors of gibbons in the wild. The speeches she gives may be very different depending on her
With the first group, they are already on an email list of donors, they already have an introduction to these gibbons, so the goal is fundraising. With the second group, if she went straight for the fundraising angle, she might lose any chance of communicating with those who need more time to learn gibbons and their needs.
When you begin to write your speech you should focus on your topic, and make a list of the bullet points you want to cover. This can help you balance your speech and make sure every point is addressed.
Once you have a list of topics, consider places you can insert an anecdote, example, or even a joke to help make your point. People love stories and the more stories you tell, the more engaged your audience is likely to be.
For most people, it won't sound natural if you memorize your speech word for word, but it does help to write out the speech in full, to be sure it covers everything you want to say and fits the timetable.
If you will have a power point presentation, you will have the advantage of notes that guide you through your speech. Do not put every word on the screen. People come to see you in person so they can get more than they would simply reading your text. Better to alternate slides of emphasized information with images that entertain and engage.
Make your notes on index cards if you will not have a projector for your presentation.
Rehearse your speech all the way through and time it with a stopwatch. If you are far off your target time, adjust by adding and subtracting stories or detail.
When you have to cut the length of your speech consider whether there is a section you can excerpt and offer separate from your speech.
Maybe you had planned to explain the history of your craft in your speech, but you find you will not have time to do more than cover five top tips for success in the field. You can offer the historical information in a hand out after your speech or send it along in a pdf for those who sign up to your email list.
When practicing your speech, note the places where you stumble, so you can practice those passages to make them smoother. Double check pronunciations on any words that you do not commonly use.
As you practice giving your speech, listen for those places you can modulate your voice for greater effect. Try speaking louder, softer, faster, or slower when appropriate in your speech. Exaggerate a little to get their attention.
Do not worry if you have to pause for a moment from time to time. You may need to catch your breath or regain your train of thought.
Pauses sound much longer for the speaker than they do for the listeners. In fact, one common mistake of beginning speakers is speaking too fast. Take time to breathe between paragraphs. Pause and let your point sink in.
If you can visit the place where you will speak ahead of time, take advantage of the opportunity to see how much room you will have to move to around.
Use the space you are given to create interest with the crowd. Try to punctuate your speech with your actions. Some gestures you may want to try:
Not every gesture needs to be grand, but body language cues are a big part of human communication.
The prospect of facing a crowd excites our "fight or flight" response. This can lead to increased pulse rate and shallow breathing. If left unchecked, it can get much worse.
You can use breathing techniques to control your body's response to your fear of public speaking. As the time for your speech approaches, practice taking slow, deep breaths to calm your nerves. Focus on a soothing thought or image to stop your thoughts from racing.
If you can relax your body in the moments leading up to your presentation, and you have prepared your speech in advance, you should find you gain momentum once you start speaking.
At the end of your speech, you may want to continue the dialogue with your audience. When speaking to a crowd of people who are not already members of your organization, you can capture your listeners' emails, so you can extend the relationship beyond this one encounter.
We offer a lead capture tool specifically designed for achieving this goal. We make it easy for you to flow from your speech into lead capture, allowing you to build your list and share more in-depth information.
When you know how to give a good speech, you will find it very easy to persuade people to support your causes. With a lead capture plan in place you can continue to promote your causes to people already swayed to your opinion. Remember to use these tips to prepare for your next presentation.