Approximately 77 percent of Americans have a fear of public speaking.
Are you one of them? Is your fear getting in the way of your performance at work or in other areas of your life?
If you’re interested in improving your public speaking skills, you’re in the right place. Read on for six helpful public speaking tips you can implement today.
Take Deep, Slow Breaths
One of the most effective public speaking techniques involves the breath. If you can control your breath, it will be easier for you to stay calm and focused during and before your speech.
A few minutes before you get on stage, find a quiet or semi-quiet place to take a few deep, slow breaths. Be sure to make the exhale (or out-breath) as slow as possible. This lowers your heart rate and helps you feel calmer.
You don’t need to write your whole speech out word for word. In fact, this can cause you to spend too much time staring down at your note cards, which affects the quality of your speech.
Give yourself a few keywords or phrases for each section of the speech. This helps you stay on track, but it also prevents you from being too focused on the notes instead of your audience.
Visual aids make your speech more engaging. They can also take some pressure off of you while you deliver your message.
If you have a slide show, a poster, a video, or another type of visual aid, you can rest easy knowing that your audience isn’t staring at you and nothing else for the entire speech.
Don’t Fear Pauses
Pauses can be powerful things.
It doesn’t matter if you’re addressing serious public speaking topics or delivering a more light-hearted message. Pausing for a couple of seconds is a great way to let your message sink in.
A pause also gives you a moment to catch your breath and collect your thoughts before moving on to the next section of your speech.
Practice, Practice, Practice
To get better at public speaking, you must prioritize practicing public speaking. If you’re afraid of talking to an audience, practice at home first.
Start by practicing your speech alone, then move on to practicing in front of one person, then three, then five, etc. Soon, you’ll feel more confident standing in front of a large group and delivering your message.
Don’t forget to record yourself when you practice. This helps you see how you come across to others and gives you an opportunity to adjust your delivery before the big day arrives.
Start Improving Public Speaking Skills Today
It doesn’t matter how intimidated you feel about speaking to an audience. With practice and determination, you can improve.
Follow the tips listed above and you’ll start improving public speaking skills in no time.
Need more help boosting your confidence before speaking at business events or other gatherings? We have lots of other helpful articles in the Lifestyle section of our website. Check them out today!