When you are given a task to do public speaking, do you feel energized and confident? Or do you feel like you have a panic attack?
Well, according to a research done by Forbes, there are only 10% of people who love public speaking, another 10% of the people are afraid and terrified of it, and the rest 80% of the population is not comfortable to a certain extent with the mere thought of public speaking.
Now let’s see what public speaking is and why it is essential to feel confident.
What is Public Speaking?
When a person gives a lecture or a lecturette or any piece of information to a group of people deliberately in a properly structured way to provide knowledge or influence or impact your own and even to entertain the audience is known as public speaking.
I bet that many people must have pushed the idea that having good public speaking and communication skill is essential for achieving success as it creates a lot of opportunities. Without having that, you would probably be limiting your potential.
Good public speaking skills enhance your self-esteem and hence improving your self-confidence. Most people think that self-esteem is a subset of self-confidence but let me tell you, it is the vice a versa; self-confidence is a subset of self-esteem. So yeah, the people who pushed this idea of having good communication and public speaking skills were right.
But still, not having good public speaking skills is nothing to worry about. I am not a great personality, but as a real example, I would like to mention that even I used to be afraid of going on the stage or behind the podium to deliver a lecture in front of an audience. My legs used to tremble while presenting, and most of the time, I would forget my matter, which I vividly remembered just a while back. I also used to stutter and get my presentation jumbled up while doing the same.
But, thankfully, I overcame this problem by reading and learning about how to give good presentations and about public speaking skills. Now I feel comfortable enough while speaking in front of the public.
So here are some tips on how to boost your confidence during public speaking:
1. Know your topic thoroughly
Knowing your topic will help you become a confident speaker; the audience always appreciates the research you put into your case. Be prepared for the answers that the audience might ask after you give your presentation and not be afraid of it. Give convincing arguments if the audience comes up with tangled up questions. Having exciting facts, quotes, and examples at the back of your mind will make a boost to your confidence.
The last thing you should consider while speaking your topic is talking straight forward from the heart.
2. Prepare and practice
Alexander Graham Bell said, ”Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.” Preparing and practicing your matter are the two most basic public speaking tips which you should follow. This will ensure that you shake off your anxiety before going out there in public to speak.
Once you get to know your topic or the theme, you will have to speak while out there in public then draw out bullet points from your presentation. The next thing that you can do to make your matter more authoritative and the message more precise and direct is to add your own life story and make it relatable for the audience. This technique never fails to gain the attention of the listeners. You can also add relevant insights and pertinent research information to the matter.
When the material becomes ready, practice how you will be speaking it. To better clarify facial expressions and gain confidence, you must go out in front of the mirror and express your material. The next step is, record a video of yourself while rehearsing. This way, you will check your timing, facial expressions, mannerisms, and the tone of voice in which you were speaking. By doing this, you will also be able to improve your use of words and body language.
ALSO READ: Effective Time Management
3. Assess and read your audience
To be an excellent public speaker, you must have the potential to manage things if unexpected and different situations come up. You should know the art of speaking and behaving differently in different situations.
For example, if you are in a sports event, your voice tone is supposed to be a lot more diverse than, say, if you are at a wedding. It would be best if you recognized the audience in front of which you’ll have to speak and mold your presentation in that manner. Sometimes, for doing this, you must know how to read between the lines.
Some points which you must look at for doing this are :
i. What age bracket does your audience fit into?
ii. What type of job is your audience doing?
iii. Are the people mostly single or married?
iv. Does the audience mainly consist of males or females? Or is there an equal amount of it?
By surveying all these, you will make your presentation fit in the room in a better way.
”The success of your presentation will be judged not by the knowledge you send but by what the listener receives.”Lilly Walters
4. Make yourself familiar with the room
It would help if you arrived early at the venue before your presentation starts so that you make yourself comfortable with the surroundings. This can calm your nerves and reduce anxiety, therefore creating a positive impact on your presentation. It would be best if you also analyzed how big that room is, how many people will be there to listen to you, to check how loud you will have to be there.
The next thing to make sure whether everything is alright and ready over there before you step on the stage. It includes your presentation, spotlights, cameras, positioning of your dice, the sound system, laser pointer pen, and equipment that you will be using.
While delivering your speech, try making eye contact with the people present in the room. It will make your talk look natural, and you’ll be able to connect with the people in the room.
5. Be self-confident
Be more comfortable in your skin on the day of your presentation. Your first impression is critical and should be good. You will never get a second chance to make your first impression.
So, to carry yourself confidently –
- Wear a good perfume
- Dress up nicely
- Wear your best shoes
- Do your hair and beard properly
- Keep a smile on your face
Well, it might seem superficial to some, but this can help. This will make you feel attractive, fresh, and confident from the inside, reflecting on your face as any amount of extra confidence helps be a better version of the speaker than you already are.
6. Be prepared for mistakes; keep back up plans.
Well, there are times when things unprecedentedly go wrong, and public speaking mishaps do happen. You just cannot be prepared for everything, and such miss happenings generally involve rude or unresponsive audiences or maybe some technical glitch. You must always be ready for them. This will further enhance your self-confidence while giving out the presentation.
The next thing is to be comfortable with your mistakes and not panic when you trip on something or after you make any mistake. Even the most well-known orators tend to make mistakes or take missteps sometimes in their long public speaking career. In times like these, what matters is how quickly you get back on your feet and how graciously you do. Adding some humor before you start speaking again is the best possible thing that you can pull off at that moment.
Do not worry about what the audience will think; they will be more than willing to forgive you. You have to forgive yourself first.
7. Learn from other public speakers
At last, you must follow your favorite public speakers on sites like slide share or social media.
Other online ways from where you can gain knowledge and see how public speakers deal with their audience are –
- Ted talks
- News shows
- Watching good documentaries
Attending live events will also give you bonus points in observing how the speakers emphasize important issues and make hand gestures. The next thing to check is their voice modulations and how they keep their audience focused on the message they want to portray or deliver.
Keeping all this in mind, you must simultaneously keep an eye on their delivery style, and if you like it, then try imbibing it on your own. All this will help you in feeding your confidence.
Ralph Waldo Emerson has said, ”All the great speakers were bad speakers at first.” So, now get going and practice hard to fit into the category of that 10% of people who love public speaking.
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