Five Fast Tips for Public Speaking

Association of Business Training
September 24, 2012 — 855 views  

Public speaking ranks among one of the most common and most intense fears, affecting nearly 75% of the population, according to various studies. While many people seem to think that individuals with public speaking skills are born naturally with the ability, improving this talent, overcoming fears, and enjoying the rewards of good speaking skills is possible.

1. Get familiar with your material.
The first step in familiarizing yourself with your speech is re-reading it several times to make sure you are comfortable with what you are saying. Try reading aloud a few times and change any words, sentences, or awkward phrases that don’t seem to “flow naturally.” 

2. Practice makes perfect!
This goes beyond being familiar with your material. Practice giving the speech aloud to family or friends and ask for constructive feedback. The more often you do this, the less likely you are to have intense fear of giving the same speech to a different group of people. Try to focus on the message and information you are giving, instead of your own voice or appearance.

3. Know your audience.
The best way to do this is to gauge your own active listening skills. Can you remember the last time you caught your attention drifting when you were in an audience with a speaker? Many people find it comforting to know that human beings have relatively short attention spans and will not have 100% of their attention focused on the speaker at all times. If you make a mistake, a large portion of the audience may not even notice.

4. Know your room.
If possible, try to arrive well in advance of your public speaking event to walk around the room you will be speaking in. This can include sitting in the audience’s chairs to see how you might look on stage, standing where you will be when you give the speech, and becoming familiar with the various exits and entrances to the room, including the bathroom. 

5. Relax.
This does not mean guzzling too much liquid courage before speaking. You want to sound calm, not intoxicated! Instead, try listening to soothing music, drinking herbal tea, or whatever is most relaxing to you, personally. Deep breathing techniques can be helpful, and many find that a last-minute read through of the material eases anxiety. 

Public speaking can be very enjoyable and a wonderful asset to your career. Implementing some of these tips and figuring out what works best for you can be the first step on your path to excellent public speaking!

Association of Business Training