Public speaking is one of the most common fears that people experience. Many individuals become nervous, anxious, or even paralyzed at the thought of speaking in front of a large group of people. However, public speaking is a valuable skill to have, particularly in today’s competitive world where communication is key to success. Fortunately, with practice, patience, and the following tips, anyone can overcome their fear of public speaking.
Whether you are presenting your case for why you want a promotion, giving a presentation to five people at work, presenting over a zoom call, or to a group of 5,000, public speaking skills will help you to organize your thoughts more succinctly and deliver the message in a way that will influence, educate, and inform others. These skills will help you with every conversation you need to have.
I personally believe public speaking skills are so important, it was the only course I required both of my now adult children to take in high school. Overcoming this fear as early as possible will increase confidence and the trajectory of your career. If you are ready to get started, you’ve come to the right place!
Tips for Public Speaking/Presenting Success
The following tips are intended to help you get started in the area of public speaking. I’ll also include videos I’ve created on this topic.
- Prepare your speech or presentation ahead of time: This is the most crucial step in overcoming your fear of public speaking. Make sure you have a clear understanding of your topic and your message. Practice your speech in front of a mirror, family member, or friend, and ask for feedback. When creating a presentation, be sure to follow the tips provided here. Video: Creating the Presentation
- Visualize success: Picture yourself giving a successful presentation, and imagine the audience responding positively to your speech. This will help boost your confidence and ease your nerves. Article: How to Visualize Success
- Get familiar with the location: Arrive early and walk around the room. Familiarize yourself with the layout and get comfortable with the environment. If possible, hook up your computer and practice moving the slides forward without losing your place regarding what you want to say.
- Take deep breaths: Breathing exercises can help you relax and stay calm. Take a few deep breaths before you begin your speech or presentation.
- Use positive self-talk: Encourage yourself with positive thoughts such as “I can do this,” “I am prepared,” and “I am confident.”
- Focus on your audience: Remember that your audience is there to hear your message. Instead of focusing on your nerves, focus on delivering your message to your audience.
- Use humor: Humor can be an effective way to break the ice and connect with your audience. Just make sure your jokes are appropriate for the setting. And only use humor if it is comfortable for you. This is not the time to decide to become a stand-up comic if you’ve never practiced.
- Use props or visual aids: Props or visual aids can help you engage with your audience and keep them interested. Video: How to Give a Great Presentation at Work
- Practice, practice, practice: The more you practice, the more comfortable and confident you will become. Practice your speech or presentation as many times as possible, until you are confident in your delivery. Article: Increase Your Confidence with 3 Easy Steps
- Join a public speaking group: Joining a public speaking group, such as Toastmasters, can provide you with the opportunity to practice your skills in a supportive environment. These groups can help you gain confidence and provide you with valuable feedback. If you can’t find a group in your area, start one! I guarantee there are at least five people in your workplace who want to provide better presentations.
The fear of public speaking is common, but it can be overcome with the right mindset and preparation. Follow these tips, and with practice, patience, and persistence, you can become a confident and effective public speaker. Remember, the key is to focus on your message, practice your delivery, and believe in yourself.