If you look at the list of fears of most people, you’ll certainly see public speaking among the top positions. Telling something in front of strangers may seem terrifying, but improving such skills is vital in almost any career.
Many think that speakers are born, but this is not true. Presentation expertise is something that can be learned. You’ve probably heard that most of the world-famous speakers worked hard: they practiced for hours, worked with teachers, and took special courses.
Let’s face it: sooner or later, you will find yourself in front of people waiting for your speech to begin. Now, you are probably asking yourself: how can I perform well? Luckily, we know the answer, and in this article, we’ve collected life hacks that will help you become a brilliant speaker.
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Care About the Topic
How can you tell a good speaker from a bad one? The first really cares about what they are talking about. The audience quickly notices when the presenter cares about the topic, whether they are beginner streamers or world-known entrepreneurs. Then, listeners will perceive you as a sincere and trustworthy person. Plus, you’ll probably be forgiven for any minor mistakes you might make.
Remember the Purpose of Your Speech
Speakers who talk about nothing and beat around the bush are a nightmare for listeners. Why are some presenters telling tales? The answer is simple – their words aren’t thought out, and they don’t have any strategy.
Therefore, the first and key step is to determine why you will be speaking. Do your best to achieve your goal during the presentation. Don’t get sidetracked and don’t talk off-topic.
Be More Specific
Each point of your speech must be proved by an example, fact, etc. Then, your words will be significant. Remember: if you aren’t specific, the audience will be bored to listen to you.
Tell a Story
Perhaps, there is nothing that seems more amazing to a human brain than a good story. This is a great way to captivate your audience and connect with it. But first, make sure your story is relevant. And don’t forget to use PowerPoint slides – your storytelling will only become brighter thanks to amazing visual tools!
Practice, Practice, and Practice Again!
The main secret of a great performance is practice. If you expect you’ll become an excellent speaker without practice, you are wrong. Remember, you can never be too thorough! The more you rehearse your speech, the more comfortable you will feel in the process. Also, practice is a way to find out how long your speech will take and what your main mistakes are.
Try to Be More Relaxed
It’s absolutely normal to be nervous before your presentation. However, the calmer you are, the easier it will be to convey the main message.
If there is something that usually calms you down in stressful situations, turn to it before the speech. It can be meditation, breathing practices, aromatherapy, music, etc.
Don’t Focus on Mistakes
“Oh God, I’ll make a mistake and embarrass myself in front of everyone,” we tend to think. However, remember that the audience may not even notice a small mistake. Plus, the more you rehearse your speech, the less likely you are to say something wrong.
Anyway, if you make a small mistake, don’t stop and apologize for it. This way, you’ll only draw attention to it, so just keep going. On the contrary, if you make a big one, use your sense of humor and irony and then continue with your speech. Your listeners will be impressed with how well you handled it all.
In fact, excessive fear of making mistakes is a common cause of procrastination. And it, in turn, leads to lower grades and worse overall performance. “I’m so afraid of making a mistake that I prefer not to do anything at all” – this is what this pattern looks like. Avoid this kind of thinking at all costs.
When it comes to public speaking, beginners often talk too fast. This makes it harder for listeners to understand the main idea. Good presenters know that it’s best to talk at a natural pace and take short, natural pauses. Also, remember to breathe while performing. A surprising number of people hold their breath without even realizing it. However, this only increases the anxiety. If your speech is long, take a sip of water during the break.
Avoid Parasite Words
“Hmm”, “well”, “uh” – we all insert these words into our speech without noticing them. Fortunately, practice will help you remove these words. Ask your friends to listen to you during rehearsal – let them listen to you and provide you with honest feedback.
Moves during speech are a sign of a good speaker. Hand gestures and steps across the stage are fine as long as they are natural.
All this shows that you are comfortable with what you are doing and, as a result, the audience will connect with you on an emotional level. You have probably seen speakers who stand motionless with their hands at their sides. Let’s face it: such a person looks artificial and insecure.
Let the Audience Ask Questions
Many speakers don’t appreciate the Q&A at the end of their speech, and that’s wrong of them.
The best thing about Q&A is that you directly address the issues the audience cares about, strengthening your relations with it. To be more prepared, create your own list of possible questions the audience might have and study the answers carefully.
If someone brings up a topic that you haven’t thought of, don’t panic. Nobody expects you to know everything. It is quite normal to say that you will contact them as soon as you know the answer.
To Wrap It Up
Public speaking is difficult for everyone, regardless of one’s personality type. Even if you aren’t confident in yourself, practice and self-belief will help you become a great speaker.
As for the rehearsal, record your performance with a camera. Do you use a lot of parasite words or too many gestures? It’s okay; just work on it.
Why not practice in front of a mirror? Remember to pay attention to your posture, facial expressions, and hand position. Avoid monotonous speech, and then your performance will be lively and natural.
And don’t forget to smile – this way, you will relieve tension and win over listeners.