Here are a few tips you’ll want to keep handy when you’re just starting out in public speaking. These aren’t anything out of the ordinary and for the most part the points below are really common sense. The idea here is that too often we forget common sense when we’re overtaken by anxiety, social phobia and fear of public speaking. That’s a reality for a lot of people who are just starting to speak in front of an audience and it’s also a reality for more seasoned speakers who still find it challenging to overcome their fear of public speaking and stage fright.
Once again, these points are common sense, but you’ll still get a lot out of reviewing them:
1. Learn from people who have gone through the same experience.
2. Use sentences and techniques that have been tested.
• Some structures are known to work better than others. Rely on what works!
3. Practice a lot!
• This point can never be stressed enough.
4. Practice in front of a small audience.
• Learn to integrate your own body language style to your words.
5. Record yourself and listen to your pronunciation.
• This is an excellent way to speak with clarity.
6. Make sure you know your subject inside out to build credibility.
• Your audience will respect you if you are an expert and know what you’re talking about.
7. Let the audience know upfront that public speaking is not easy for you.
• Some speakers may disagree with this, but many have embraced this idea. It might be more practical to use this technique in front of smaller audiences – this works particularly well if you have to present a wedding speech, as the audience is smaller and more forgiving. When you are drawing crowds of several thousand listeners, they expect you to be a top speaker.
8. Know your stage.
• You’ll want to visit the podium (and the room) before you speak to make sure you know where to step and what to avoid. If anything is unsafe on that podium, you want to know about it before hand and not risk being embarrassed on stage.
9. Know your technology before you deliver your speech.
• You should always test your visual aids and microphones before you deliver your speech.
10. Hire a specialist to take care of all technical considerations.
• If you’re microphone doesn’t work, you don’t want to be caught on stage trying to fix your own technical problems. Hire experts who can do it quickly. You should only have one focus – your audience.
11. Have handouts prepared just in case your visual aid doesn’t work.
• For obvious reasons, you should check your Power Point presentation many times to ensure that it works perfectly and there are no technical glitches. But sometimes, the best intentions are just not enough. Always have photocopies of the handouts that can be quickly distributed in case anything goes wrong.
12. Don’t forget to interact with the audience. This will not only make it more interesting for the audience, but it will ease the pressure off of you.
• If by any wild chance you get a question or comment that you cannot answer, simply be honest about it and let the audience member in question know that if they want to contact you directly you can try to get them an answer. If that question is really important to that audience member, he/she will take you up on your offer. If the question was not that important, you won’t need to worry yourself much because the audience member will not purpose matters any further.