Imagine you are sitting there in a room full of people waiting for your turn. One by one, each person is standing up and introducing themselves. Anxiety is building, you feel the tension take over.
Soon it will be your turn. Suddenly your arms and legs are crossed. In your mind, you practice what you will say. Suddenly is your turn. You get up and deliver, the moment has passed and you are left wondering why were you so nervous about.
About 4 years ago, I began working on my public speaking skills. This drive to want to improve has taken me already to travel around. Now, there are a couple of things I wish somebody would have told me back then. Things I had to learn the hard way and they have certainly helped me improve my performance when talking in public. I hope you find them as useful as I have.
8.- How do they make you feel?
Next time you see somebody delivering a presentation, think how does the presenter make you feel? Are you judging him? I don’t think so, you know how hard it’s to talk in public and so are the others. That is why people are actually very supportive of the speaker and rarely want to see him or her fail.
7.- You are just among a group of friends.
Imagine you are talking in front of a group of friends in the living room of your home. Create a more comfortable atmosphere by eliminating the formal bond created by the stage. Perhaps you can be on the same level or in front of the stage. Try to avoid having things in between you and the audience, like a table. Remember that you as the presenter have full control of the mood in the room.
6.- Expect the worst and you will get the worst.
If you go on the stage, expecting the worst, then every little sign of feedback from the audience you will interpret it as something bad. You will find yourself reinforcing your expectations. This will little by little destroy your self-confidence as you fight to deliver your message.
5.- It’s just a group of one.
Don’t see a group of people. Instead, focus on building rapport by making eye contact individually. Don’t think that you are talking to a group of 200 people, you will be overwhelmed, just think that you are talking to Peter, to Mary.
4.- Feed your energy with the audience.
Look for those who are smiling, nodding, or have their heads tilted to the side. They are agreeing with you. Use them to get yourself full of energy. The energy then you can put into your delivery and share it with the rest.
3.- Know where you are going.
Dale Carnegie said that “the speaker who starts by going nowhere, normally get there.” Don’t write down your speech, make an outline instead. Make sure to have a clear goal with its main points. You may forget what you need to say but, you will not forget where you want to take them.
2.- Patience and perseverance.
Developing soft skills require time. Be patient and perseverant. Make sure to take on every opportunity you have to talk in public. Experiment with different ideas and concepts. Find your voice. Practice, practice, practice.
1.- Shift your mindset.
You need to want to be on the stage! or the stage will continue to own you. Strive to be on the offensive instead of the defensive. Anxiety will never go away, you will just learn how to control it, how to enjoy it.
It’s only by trial and error that public speaking skills can be developed. No matter how many tips you get or books you read about public speaking. Only the stage can teach you what you need. But, as long as you run away from the stage, you will not be able to improve.
If you are serious about improving, you can check your local Toastmasters Club. You can also read Dale Carnegie’s – “How To Develop Self-Confidence & Influence Other People by Public Speaking.” or wait until I share my book review.
I would like you to share below about your experience with public speaking. How do you deal with the stage? What do you struggle with?
If you can think of somebody who should read this post, make sure to share it with him or her.