“99% of the population is afraid of public speaking, and of the remaining 1%, 99% of them have nothing original and interesting to say.” – Jarod Kintz,
Most people are nervous when it comes to public speaking. It’s an understandable fear. When we stand up to speak we open ourselves up to judgement. It can be a petrifying experience for even the most practiced speaker.
But there are ways to beat your fear. And here are 7 to help get you started.
“It takes one hour of preparation time for each minute of presentation time.” – Wayne Burgraff
The key to any great speech is practice. Before you stand up to speak you need to be as confident with your material as you would be having a chat with your best friend.
2. Care about your topic
“It’s much easier to be convincing if you care about your topic. Figure out what’s important to you about your message and speak from the heart.” – Nicholas Boothman
It’s much easier to add passion to your speech if you actually care about your topic. Fill your speech with things that mean something to you and they will mean something to your listeners too.
3. Trust in what you have to say
“Best way to conquer stage fright is to know what you’re talking about.” – Michael H Mescon
Make sure that you have faith in your speech before you stand up to say it. If you know the words are right then you can relax and deliver them in the best way possible.
4. Know your audience
“The customer is always right’ may have become a standard motto in the world of business, but the idea that ‘the audience is always right,’ has yet to make much of an impression on the world of presentation, even though for the duration of the presentation at least, the audience is the speaker’s only customer.” – Max Atkinson
Greet some of the listeners as they come in. Talk to them and get to know them. It’s much easier to speak to a group of friends than it is to lecture a room full of stranger.
5. Don’t Panic
“When you work with the thing you fear the most, you take away it’s power” – Jessica Collins
Despite what it may feel like your audience are on your side. They want to enjoy your speech just as much as you do. Go in with a smile and trust the audience to help you give your best performance.
6. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes
“Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes.”- Mahatma Gandhi
Because the audience are on your side no one will much care if you slip up occasionally, lose your place, or mess up a punchline. And even if they do care, no-one remembers a doozy for that long anyway. On the whole people are all too busy worrying about themselves.
7. Have fun
“They may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel.” – Carl W. Buechner
A speech gives you the chance to entertain others and, so long as you’ve practised well, there’s no reason that you wont. Take a few deep breaths, stand up, look your audience in the eye, and enjoy yourself. It will all be over in a few minutes anyway.
When you stand up to speak you’re making a contract with the audience – if you give me your time I’ll entertain you. As long as you have something interesting to say the audience will be on your side.
Practice your speech, take a deep breath before you star and trust in the audience to support you.
All being well you might even enjoy it yourself!
Image Credits – “Rajagopal speaking to 25,000 people, Janadesh 2007, India” by Ekta Parishad – Ekta Parishad. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.