TIPS FOR EFFECTIVE PUBLIC SPEAKING

Speaking to large crowds comes easily for some, yet for others just the thought cultivates fear and anxiety. According to Psychology Today three out of four people fear public speaking. This form of anxiety is known as glossophobia or speech anxiety. By incorporating a few strategies you can boost your confidence and become an expert in giving speeches!

TIPS TO BECOME AN EXPERT AT GIVING SPEECHES:

Research and Prepare Ahead of Time: Give yourself ample time to prepare before conducting your speech. Create an outline of data and requirements to be accomplished in a timely fashion. This provides a visual guide with steps to ensure needed information is gathered before the presentation.  Researching beforehand fosters knowledge and confidence on the topic of discussion.

Practice with People You Feel Comfortable Around: Depending on your preference your audience can be friends, family, colleagues, or other people you know. A good strategy is to begin with smaller audiences and gradually increase. A progressive adjustment to larger audiences exposes the individual to the cause of anxiety at a manageable level. This can be more accommodating than the sudden impact of presenting before a large audience.

Focus on Your Message: Concentrate on the message you’re seeking to convey, rather than on the audience. It can be nerve-racking to see numerous people starring at you. Instead focus on your thoughts and the points to be address in an orderly fashion. For instance, plan ahead what you intend to say in the beginning, middle, and end of your speech. This gives room for creativity in between, but also structure in the event your mind wonders. Flashcards, PowerPoint slides with bullet points, or simple mental notes can serve as reminders to keep focused. This may also decrease anxiety being a tool of reference when feeling under pressure.

Stop, Breathe, and Then Continue:  If nervousness sets in stop speaking, take a few deep breathes, and then resume. Taking a few moments to collect your thoughts and balance intense emotions can prove beneficial.

Allow Room for Error: Becoming an expert at giving speeches takes practice and dedication. It may take a few experiences before you feel overly confident. Give yourself permission to make mistakes and be patient as this is a learning process. Remember practice makes perfect, and that requires time and experiences.

WORK-RELATED STRESS: HOW MUCH IS TOO MUCH?

Thriving in today’s fast-paced society calls for excellence and quick turn around. Employees are faced with multiple job tasks and thinner and thinner deadlines.  Experts agree that a healthy level of stress known as eustress can yield productivity and enhance work performance. Unfortunately, poor management can push employees beyond healthy stress, leading to physical and/or mental burnout.

HOW MUCH IS TOO MUCH? 

Each person has his or her own stress threshold. It’s important to keep this in mind when taking on new job responsibilities or promotions within the company. Share with your employer areas of strengths and the areas you are working to improve.  It’s just as important for leaders to examine job assignments, workloads, deadlines, competency & skills, and employee availability before designating assignments. Stepping into new job roles is a great opportunity for success, yet it can add stress as employees are in the process of learning new skills and responsibilities. Proficient leaders are mindful of such circumstances, allowing ample time for deadlines during periods of training and transitioning.

The World Health Organization (WHO) compares the difference between healthy and unhealthy work stress mentioning the following:

  • Healthy stress motivates employees to work and to achieve their highest potential. This type of stress is healthy and productive. It keeps individuals alert and interested in their job roles.
  • Unhealthy stress places demands and expectations that are beyond the ability or timeframe, which the employee can offer. This stress is unhealthy and can lead to occupational stress.
  • Factors include poor management, and lack of support from supervisors and colleagues. 

WHO comments on work stress stating, “A healthy working environment is one in which there is not only an absence of harmful conditions but an abundance of health-promoting ones.”

TIPS FOR EMPLOYEES:

1. Do not overcommit. Before accepting a project or job tasks examine your comfort level with any given job assignment.

2. Express realistic deadlines when given time sensitive assignments.

3. Suggest ideas for decreasing stress in your workplace.

4. Communicate with your employer if you are feeling overwhelmed.

TIPS FOR MANAGERS:

1. Set realistic deadlines for projects and job tasks.

2. Encourage teamwork, and provide assistance if needed.

3. Put into account competency & skills, experience, and employee availability before designating assignments.

4. Encourage quality improvement and employee meetings for feedback and support.

5. Promote a stress-free environment with periodic luncheons, and other employee incentives.

6. Provide strategies to decrease work-related stress, and allow for workers to share areas of concern.