Did you know the most common fear is that of public speaking, regardless of personality type? The good news is that anyone can become great at public speaking by following these basic techniques.
Forget What you “Know”
Most people who are afraid of public speaking assume great speakers are born that way. In truth, those “natural-born” speakers have spent a great deal of time becoming good at speaking in front of an audience. You too can become a great speaker by learning and practicing. If you need to speak publicly a lot for your job, consider joining a Toastmaster’s club to get the tips, support and practice you’ll need.
Change your Mindset
If one of the reasons you fear public speaking is because you once gave a terrible presentation, you may have to change that negative mindset. But you can do it! Rather than focusing on the one bad speech you gave, think of all the ones you gave that were successful. These can be less formal, like in a team meeting or in a one-on-one client meeting. Remind yourself that it’s normal to be nervous. The is our body’s way of preparing us to do our best.
Practice and Rehearse
Devoting a generous amount of time preparing for your speech will help you become a confident public speaker. Winston Churchill, one of the most powerful public speakers of our time cited lots of practice as his “secret” to great speechmaking. For every minute presenting, he dedicated an hour in rehearsing his speeches. So, for every 10 minutes of a speech he rehearsed for 10 hours! This just goes to show how much of an impact practice can make in turning anyone into a confident public speaker.
Prepare with Dedication
When we dread doing something, we often will procrastinate about doing it. This, in almost every case, causes us more stress than if we’d just get cracking on with it. Allow yourself plenty of time to prepare for your speech. You’ll need time to come up with the exact language you want to use, the main points you want to cover and the examples and stories you’ll need to explain any concepts. Going in knowing that you are prepared is one of the best ways to relieve dread and nervousness. Remember how you felt going into a big test in school, knowing you hadn’t studied enough (or at all)? We always do a better job when we go in having spent time preparing for the task ahead.