Ten Tips on Public Speaking
In a recent poll they had in America, the second greatest fear was Public Speaking, which is quite surprising, given Americans generally like speaking. By the way was, death was the number one fear, so there you go!
So how are your speaking skills, whether doing a presentation in front of colleagues or prospects, as a lecturer, or more informally at a wedding?
Often people who are generally confident, can actually really undersell themselves and their 'product/service' when they have to speak in front of an audience.
They literally miss so much! Having spent much of my life as an actress, I'm very aware of this, people don't realise but things like Charisma, Congruence and Inspiration are actually very 'learnable', it's just some people have a head start on those things that's all.
So I'm going to share some very basic tips here.
1) Obvious, but really necessary, BE PREPARED. The two main ways you can do this are either by reading your 'script' (which can be pretty uninspiring unless you site read extremely well) to the audience or just having a mind map or bullet points for you to refer to, so you can 'be in the moment', therefore more spontaneous.
2) REHEARSE it in your mind's eye OFTEN! Visualising where and what you'll be doing really helps reinforce your confidence as you become more familiar with the 'scene'. Then start speaking it out loud when you feel good about the 'scene' you've been visualising so that it feels natural.
3) Get into a calm and confident STATE. State control is essential. There are many methods to do this, including 'anchors' and hypnosis, but a very basic and effective method is breathing deeply, inhale for 10 counts, hold for 5 and exhale for 10.
Practice often and especially a few minutes before you go 'on', it will calm down the sympathetic nervous system.
4) If possible, know your AUDIENCE, if you can, mingle with them beforehand, find out what their expectations are, break the ice.
5) BODY LANGUAGE, standing straight with both feet firmly on the ground. Shuffling of any sort makes you look weak. Body language is the most important aspect of giving a presentation as well as how you say something.
6) VOICE PROJECTION - you must be heard. If you are not using a microphone, practice reaching the back row with your voice if you have access to the venue beforehand.
In your own house imagine trying to get someone's attention in another room, just using your voice, upping the volume, however do not shout.
7) EYE CONTACT - no longer than 4-5 seconds looking at one person, otherwise they may start to feel uncomfortable. Take the whole room in, not just the first 2 rows. Avoid eye dart ( looking at different parts of the room just for a second) it can make a person look shifty as their eyes dart around.
8) Most important, BELIEVE YOUR STUFF, if you don't, how on earth do you expect your audience to? Get passionate about it if possible.
9) BELIEVE IN YOURSELF! Put your focus on what you are saying and your audience not on monitoring yourself as this will lead to nervousness and self criticism.
10) ENJOY! Believe me, if you are enjoying yourself, chances are your audience will be. Be your authentic self.
BONUS: Don't worry too much if you are a bit nervous when you start, some nerves are necessary to 'perform' well, it gives you the edge, rather than risk being complacent, ask any actor!
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