Ten Tips To Become a Confident Public Speaker
An important aspect of public speaking is overcoming fear,
nervousness or lack of confidence. Even the most talented public
speakers, experience weak moments when they stand before an
audience. However, they know how to conceal it and regain their
composure. The following suggestions will help you deal with
public speaking fear.
1. Plan the strategy: The purpose
of a speech may be to inform, to persuade or to entertain. Of
this the last one is more difficult, unless you have a natural
talent to impress people with your skills. Persuasion requires
a softer, and convincing approach, while informative speeches
may be formal or technical and require more focus upon facts
and information. Emotion plays an important role in all these,
but it must be used with subtlety and reason.
2. Know your audience: A lot of success
in public speaking depends upon knowing what your audience wants
or expects from your speech, and what the purpose of speech
is, and preparing accordingly. The speech is not about you,
but the audience. If it helps them and if it is meaningful to
them, they will appreciate and may even ignore any drawback
they may notice in your presentation.
3. Prepare: Prepare thoroughly, gathering
as much information as possible on the subject. The more time
you spend in preparation, the greater will be your control over
the topic and confidence in delivering it. Make sure that you
manage your time well during the presentation and your speech
fits well within the allotted time. If your audience comes from
diverse background, keep the cultural barriers and factors in
mind, while you choose your language, words and expressions.
4. Practice: Preparation is the first part
and practice or rehearsing is the second. Practice as much as
possible. Read your speech aloud. If necessary, record it and
listen to it to notice the tonality and voice modulation. Rehearse
your speech. The more you practice your speech, the better will
be your presentation.
5. Visualize: A lot of stress and
fear associated with public speaking can be overcome with the
help of visualization. Visualize the audience and speak to them.
Visualize feeling confident and delivering the speech with poise.
Visualization helps you mentally prepare for the occasion and
subconsciously automate your actions and responses.
6. Attune your mind: On the day of the speech,
keep yourself in good spirits. The night before, make sure you
sleep well. Exercise to calm your nerves. Exercise will remove
lethargy from your body and increase blood flow to your brain,
thereby helping you feel active and energetic. If necessary,
use affirmations and avoid unnecessary distractions to boost
your confidence and keep the mind in a positive frame. If you
are positive, it will show in your speech and demeanor.
7. Connect with the audience: On the stage,
check all your equipment. Make sure everything is working. Keep
a bottle of water and use it only when there is an interruption
or when you are not speaking. To improve audience response,
pay attention to your body language, maintain a good posture,
dress properly, avoid clichés and mannerisms, walk around in
a relaxed manner, use examples and case studies, ask questions,
keep smiling and maintain eye contact with the audience. Pace
your voice, with pauses so that if you are nervous it will not
8. Let the audience know you: It is very
important that you are properly introduced to the audience before
you begin your speech, or speak briefly about yourself, summing
up your major achievements and experience or professional knowledge
in the field or the subject. If you are already known to them,
you can bring to their attention the previous occasions when
you spoke to them and mention a few details just to refresh
9. Post presentation steps: After the speech
is over, get feedback from the people. Look for their response
and nonverbal cues. Check your own performance, and whether
you have met your objectives. If it has been filmed, watch the
video. Learn from the experience and see where you can improve
10. Learn from others: Improve your knowledge
of public speaking by reading books about the subject, seeking
mentors, watching others and learning from them. At the end
of this article, we have included a few important books and
resources, which you may find to be useful to improve your skills.
For Further Reading