Does the thought of speaking in front of a crowd cause paralysis? You’re not alone. Whether you are an introvert or extrovert, most people fear speaking in front of crowds or even small groups of people.
If you’ve been called on to give your first presentation at work, speak to a group of parents or even give the toast to a bride and groom, there are an abundance of tricks that are designed to help you successfully navigate your first speaking engagement.
Follow these suggestions from the professionals and you’ll say goodbye to stage fright in no time.
1. Sit down and take notes
The first step is to sit back and relax in one of your comfy chairs and begin taking notes. The better you know your subject matter, the easier it will be to speak from your mind and heart. There is nothing more agonizing than enduring a speech or presentation from someone that feels compelled to ready verbatim from note cards.
You don’t need to take that route.
Know your subject matter. Take notes in the form of an outline. These will be your talking points. It’s ok to have a notecard with keywords to trigger your train of thought.
Learn from the major publications – they usually offer you something of value (I hope!) Here are some of the good ones:
Also learn from case studies – here’s a good public speaking case study video:
2. Rehearse, rehearse and rehearse
Only after you know what you’re going to say, stand tall and begin to practice. Do not stand in front of a mirror. You won’t be standing in front of a mirror when you give your actual speech, so there’s no need to practice in front of one.
Having a notecard, a paperclip or even a pen in your hand allows you to transfer your nervous energy to that object. It really does work.
Finally, enlist a trusted friend or family member to listen to your speech. Inevitably you will come across more relaxed than you think. One trick is to slow down, we tend to speak quickly when nervous or agitated. If you’re preparing for a media interview, it’s a good idea to sign up for an online media training class.
3. Ready for prime time!
You’re ready for the real show now. Put your shoulders back, stand with confidence and deliver your speech. Once you’ve overcome your first time fears you’ll have a great sense of accomplishment.
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Cover photo credit: NTEN / Flickr