How to be a better public speakerThree tips to improve your public speaking
Do you get nervous whenever you need to speak in public? Do you want to be a better public speaker? If so, you’re not alone!
Standing up in front of anybody to give a talk can be a daunting and nerve-wracking experience. It’s something people have nightmares about, where they imagine their mind goes blank, everyone laughs at them, or their trousers fall down. This is very much a worst-case scenario though, and the actual talk is unlikely to be that bad!
Part of the fear of public speaking is the waiting. Often, once you get started, it is never as terrifying as you thought it would be. But this fear can deter people from putting themselves forward for public speaking and can make them less confident when they do speak aloud.
Whether it’s a talk in front of a handful of people, a group of your classmates/colleagues, or a large presentation in front of a packed lecture theatre, the nerves and fear are still going to be there.
Even the most proficient public speaker is sure to feel some nerves before they begin speaking, but they have learnt to manage them and use them to their advantage. So how can you calm your nerves and become a better public speaker? There are three key things to remember…
Practice and preparation
If you don’t feel prepared, then of course you are going to feel scared about public speaking! However, if you prepare and practice, you will go into a talk feeling much more confident. You won’t banish the nerves completely, but you will know you have done all the right preparation to give you the best chance of presenting a good talk.
Preparing well gives you the mental advantage of knowing you have done all you can to give a good talk, and you won’t walk away from the talk thinking you could have done more. Whether you prefer to learn a complete script or just memorise a few key points, learning and rehearsing will give you the confidence you need to deliver a good presentation. Feeling more confident will also make you more relaxed, and if you’re relaxed then your audience will be too which will result in a positive outcome for all!
Finding a mentor who can help you with your public speaking can be invaluable. Whether it’s a trusted family member or friend, or, even better, a professional coach or individual with bags of experience, their advice and comments can help take your public speaking to the next level. Completing a specific course in public speaking, led by an experienced mentor, will also give you added tips to take your presentation to the next level.
Getting positive and constructive help and feedback from a mentor can boost your confidence in the lead up to a talk, and on the stage itself as you’re speaking. This added confidence (along with their tips on how to improve) will not only help you deal with your nerves but also help you give a better and more engaging talk or presentation.
The following method may not suit everyone, but it will certainly help you become more at ease with public speaking. If you record yourself practicing a speech and watch it back, you can see yourself how to improve.
However, if you then want to take it even further, you can show it to other people and receive their feedback! if this scares you, you could start by showing it to family and friends (or giving a talk to them in-person) then, when you’re feeling braver, you could show it to a wider audience and post it on your social media.
You could post videos regularly to document your progress, and other people can then see how you’re improving. This also makes you accountable as the knowledge that other people are following your journey will encourage you to always push yourself and improve.
These three things won’t magically make you less nervous or make you an incredible public speaker overnight, but they will help you to manage your nerves, feel more confident, and ultimately give a better presentation to your audience!
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