Public speaking is stressful for many people. Some of the most accomplished professionals are reduced to panic attacks over the prospect of speaking in front of a room full of strangers. It doesn’t matter whether you have a big proposal to pitch, or a wedding toast to give, the pros here at UVISOR have compiled this list of tips to help you conquer your fear of public speaking once and for all!
Tip # 1: Understand the Goals of Your Public Speech
A well-planned, thought-out speech will help relieve some of the stress of public speaking. Don’t wait until the night before to plan out what you’re going to say the next day. Instead take your time to work through the material you need to present. The better grasp you have on the issues and topics you will cover, the more likely you will have confidence during your speech. Remember that confidence is the only true cure to a public speaking fear. If you have confidence that your speech will be a success, it will be a success!
Tip # 2: Make An Outline of Your Script
Every person’s public speaking style is different. However, the more material that you have to create and remember, the more stressful it may be. Instead once you’ve done your homework you should create a broad outline that provides lots of details about the information that will be contained within your speech. Not sure how to make an outline? That’s okay. All you need to do is first write out a tentative speech that includes everything you would like to say. From there create a bulleted list that contains the main points from each section of your speech. Great! Now you have an outline. Use this outline to help you practice your speech. The longer you work with the outline you should be able to condense it into a couple of keywords per bulleted point. The outline can then be used as a script/roadmap that you can follow and look to during your public speech.
Tip # 3: Know Your Audience
When developing a speech you must know your audience. That way you know how to target your presentation in order to pick the proper mood and tone for your speech. Knowing your audience should also help settle some of your nerves and give you some idea of what to expect regarding the potential reception of your speech.
Tip # 4: Set Realistic Expectations
The biggest stressor for public speeches is the setting of unnecessarily high expectations. Remember that this next five minutes, or two hours, is an isolated period in time that will be over before you know it. Instead of focusing on what can go wrong, focus on the content of your speech and what you intend to communicate to the public. Most importantly, sometimes the only expectation that you should set is that you just finish your speech, and properly convey your message within the time allotted to you. Setting expectations about how the audience may respond is somewhat pointless, and ultimately out of your control. Instead focus on things you can control ie. the content or point that you are trying to communicate.
Tip #5: Visit the Site The Day Before and Visualize Success
All world-class athletic competitors visit the arena, site or court of a big competition the night before the big game. You should adopt this mentality whenever you start feeling butterflies in your stomach over an upcoming public speech. Getting a proper understanding of your surroundings is the best way to relieve stress. It will also allow you to visualize a successful, stress-free speech. Remember that visualization is a great way to manage your stress by redirecting your attention away from unnecessary worries and concerns. When you visit the site ahead of time get a good look at the surroundings, and whether there is a podium, and other aids at your disposal. After surveying the land you should try to visualize you speech and maybe even practice it a bit if that would not inconvenience others.
Tip # 6: Don’t Focus to Heavily on Memorization
Focusing too much on memorization is the quickest way to get yourself in a stressful tizzy about your upcoming public speech. While it’s a great idea to have your speech written out in prose or outline form, you should considered these tools as simple aids. Remember that you are the person given the speech and your outline is simply there for when you need it. Its okay to deviate from the originally planned speech, and the ability to do so will allow you to be more flexible when and if surprises or changes occur that are out of your control.
Tip # 7: Use Props
Props such as podiums, easels and other tools are great at combating stress during a speech. Some people hate standing still and get panicky or claustrophobic when stuck behind a podium. The use of a projector or other visual aid will provide for variety of physical activity in the delivery of your speech, while also giving you a chance to breathe, put your back to the audience and recollect yourself if things have gotten a little too stressful. However, make sure the prop is appropriate with the specific speech.
Tip # 8: Bring Some Water
A simple water bottle can serve multiple purposes during a public speech. Taking a sip of water at certain points during your speech can allow you to pace your presentation. A sip of water is also a great way to buy yourself some time if things have gotten a little too stressful. A sip of water will also quench your thirst, and level your heartbeat if you’re sweating because of stress.
Any public speech you have to give can be a breeze if your remember UVISOR’s 8 Tips for conquering your fear of public speaking. Prepare ahead of time by creating a script or outline, visit the site ahead of time, and always visualize success. If you’re feeling the symptoms of stress during your speech utilize a prop, take a sip of water, temper your expectations and remember that strict memorization is extremely overrated. It’ll all be over with before you know it!