Public speaking is an art of speaking, where you perform a speech to a live audience. You communicate with a lot of people every day. There is no fear when you talk with an individual. But when you have to make a speech to a large group of audience in public, you get nervous.
It is necessary to study the key elements of public speaking and practice a lot to become a successful speaker. If you are going to give a speech in public, here are a few tips to help you improve your speaking skills and overcome the fear of public speaking.
Tips to improve speaking skills and overcome the fear of public speaking:
1. Know your audience
If you want to be a successful speaker, you must know the expectations and concerns of the audience. You must adapt a speech to their level of understanding, interests, and beliefs. It helps you to improve your presentation and deliver the speech appropriately. Different occasions require you to speak in a specific manner. The audience is more interested in their concerns. So, learn what the audience expects from you and deliver the speech appropriately. Thus, knowing your audience will help you overcome the fear of public speaking. Also, read Let Fear Motivate You, Not Defeat You.
Rehearsing is very important to improve your speaking skills. It is the master key to become a professional speaker. Rehearse more if you stumble while speaking. Rehearse your speech everywhere possible and prepare your content and goals well ahead of time. Rehearsing helps you to memorize words and improves the quality of your voice. Practice more to lose the fear of making mistakes while giving a public speech.
3. Practice with distractions
The audience might ask questions at any point while you are speaking. It will be a distraction if you are not used to speaking in a noisy environment. Turn on the tv or music player while rehearsing your speech. You cannot always expect silence while making a speech. You might forget your lines if there is a disturbance. So, it is advisable to rehearse in a noisy environment to overcome the fear of public speaking.
4. Discover a style that works for you
Your speech should not be monotonous. Follow a style of speaking that works for you. Find the right style for different types of events. If you are going to make a speech without any presentation tool, prepare well. Make a note of key points instead of memorizing the words. If you are going to speak with a script, ensure it has a proper format. If your speech is composed well, the fear of public speaking will subside.
5. Try shorter speeches first
If you are a beginner, speaking for hours will be a difficult task. You need to start with shorter speeches to build confidence and improve your speaking efficiency. Speak for 2-3 minutes max until you get used to speaking in public. Over time, you will be able to increase your speech duration. Once you are comfortable speaking in public, your fear subsides. Then, making long speeches will no longer be a problem.
6. Know your topic well
If you know your topic well, you will not stumble while speaking. Learn about your topic thoroughly to know more. Giving real-life examples will help the audience to understand better. It helps you to boost your confidence and speak for hours. If an audience member asks an unexpected question, you should not be at a loss of words. Thus, know your topic well to lose fear and be prepared before giving a speech in public.
7. Choose a topic you are passionate about
Speak on a topic you are more passionate about to lose the fear of public speaking. You won’t be at a loss of words when you speak on a topic of your interest. Make gestures while speaking to express your concerns to the audience. It helps the audience to understand your speech better. It will boost your confidence and overrides the fear of speaking.
8. Remember to breathe
Relax your mind before giving a speech in public. You start to sweat and lose confidence when you are nervous. Nervousness will affect your breathing pattern and makes you speak too fast. It creates a vicious cycle and disinterests the audience. So, remember to breathe before speaking and make pauses in between to catch your breath. It helps you to sound more confident and overcome fear.
9. Exercise before speaking
Stress will make you nervous before speaking. Exercising before giving a public speech helps you to calm your nerves. If your mind is clear, you can speak confidently. Aerobic exercises like running or swimming will reduce stress and anxiety. If there is no stress, you can make a speech without fear.
10. Take every opportunity to speak
Give a public speech whenever you get a chance. It is one of the best ways to lose your fear of public speaking. Never miss or deny the opportunity of public speaking. Make up your mind and speak regardless of all the constraints that are keeping you from speaking up. Improve your speaking skills by giving more public speeches and understand the concerns of the audience.
11. Practice body language and movement
While speaking in public, body language plays an important role. Gestures will add more emphasis to your speech than just words. Make hand movements to convey your message to the audience in style. Keep your chin up while speaking to sound confident. Make eye contact with the audience to show your preparedness and keep them engaged. By making gestures, you make them feel you are confident and overcome your fear.
12. Know the environment
Visit the venue on or before the day of the speech. You will get to know whether you are going to speak inside a building or an open-air place. If it’s inside a building, take a look at the room and walk the stage. Rehearse your speech to boost your confidence. Thus, knowing your venue before making a speech helps you to overcome the fear of public speaking.
13. Get speech training
Speech training is necessary to become a successful speaker. In speech training, you will learn public speaking skills step by step. So, to improve your speaking skills, get training from a professional trainer. The coach will guide you about how to speak with confidence and work on your body language. You become familiar with the elements of public speaking. Work on your weak areas and overcome the fear of making mistakes. Ask him about his public speaking experience and get motivated for your next speech.
14. A great lead-in
A great start will boost your confidence. Make sure you don’t panic and speed up your speech. Know your topic well to speak without stumbling. Your opening statement should captivate the attention of the audience. A good start helps you to engage the audience throughout and subside your fear of public speaking. Thus, a great lead-in will bolster your confidence and helps you to make a better public speaker.
15. Remember to smile
Throw up a smile while speaking to reduce stress. It can have a positive effect on your attitude. You can boost up your confidence and feel more comfortable making a speech in public. A smile can make you seem more friendly to the audience. When you have a positive attitude, your fear of speaking in public is likely to subside.
16. Learn to accept some anxiety
Every public speaker gets anxious before speaking. Most speakers believe anxiety helps you to speak better. Even experienced or professional speakers tend to get nervous before giving a speech. With practice, you will be comfortable making a speech even with anxiety and overcome your fear of public speaking.
17. Watch others give speeches
You can improve your speaking skills by watching other speakers give a public speech. It helps if you are a newbie and afraid of speaking in public. Even professional speakers make mistakes. So, you need not have a fear of making mistakes while performing a speech. Also, you can get to know their technique of delivering speeches.
18. Join a speaking group
It is advisable to join a group of speakers. You can improve your speaking skills by making speeches in front of them. If you cannot hire or find a professional coach, join a speaking group to improve your speaking skills. You get advice from fellow speakers after every speech and can improve your speaking skills based on their feedback, which helps to overcome your fear of public speaking.
19. Visualize your success
Imagine yourself speaking in public without fear. Also, imagine the positive response from the audience for your speech. When you picture your success, your mind will be focused. It helps you to develop a positive attitude and be optimistic. Turn your imagination into reality to muster up some courage for the upcoming speech.
Try to include real-life examples in your speech to keep the audience engaged. Do not stop yourself from taking feedback from the audience. Those feedbacks will help you correct your mistakes and improve your speaking skills. Becoming a successful public speaker is truly an achievement in life. Do not let your fear suppress your dream of becoming a public speaker. There is no need to worry about getting nervous before speaking. It will eventually fade after a few speeches. Consider these speaking tips and embark on the journey of becoming a successful public speaker.