Note: This post was originally published in 2012 and has been updated recently.
Are you afraid to speak in public?
Raise your hand if you are afraid of public speaking. OK, you can put them down. If you are like three out of four people, you fear speaking in public. It is very easy to comprehend the fear of speaking in front of strangers, or even among friends. However, at some point, you will be called upon to make a presentation. Why not increase your opportunity for a successful one? Use our tips to make your next presentation one that you’re applauded for.
Tips to improve your public speaking abilities
I’m one of the few who relish speaking in public. Being able to share ideas, to teach and learn with a group is one of the things that I look forward to in my profession. Over the years I’ve learned that you can really overcome your fears if you do these things:
- Create cards with your speaking points on them. Hold them and refer to them as you speak but without reading or burying your face in them and…
- Know what you are speaking about and why you are there and what you wish to leave your audience with. And I mean know it. Not memorize it. People panic when they can’t remember the words, but if you know why you’re there, and what you want to leave your audience with, you’re 80% home.
- Practice. Ask your friends or your spouse to listen to you. Choose a friendly audience who you know cares about you. Having confidence when you practice will help you and the feelings of confidence in practice will transfer to your actual presentation.
- Ask for a critique from your listener after practice. Ask them what they are taking away from the presentation. Does that match your goals? If not, you’ll need to refine your content or your manner of presentation or learn it more thoroughly.
- Use your body to help you. Stand well, project your voice. Make eye contact. You have nothing to fear from these people. They are there to hear what you have to say! Talk to them, not through them.
- Have confidence in what you’re saying. (See #2)
- Use a story to get your points across. Tell tales on yourself. Have fun.
What are the most important elements of public speaking for presentations?
View this video to learn the most important things you can do when making a presentation. This video cements points #5 and #7 in your mind.