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.