Public speaking tips
What you need to know
Let’s discover powerful public speaking tips. As a kind reminder, public speaking is considered to be the second thing people fear the most after death. Speaking in public seems one of the biggest fears human beings face. To overcome that fear, you need to stay motivated and apply what works best for you.
There was a time in my life when I would forget everything I wanted to say because of stress. I never dared raising my hand in class because of my introversion, shyness, and lack of self-esteem. I remember one day, my classmates burst out laughing because I made a grammar mistake. That remained one of my most traumatic experiences in my childhood that held me back to take the floor again. I promised myself to never speak in public again until I discovered Toastmasters.
Long story short, today, I am still stressed but I gained much more confidence and pleasure expressing who I am no matter the size of the audience. Here are a few tips that could help you overcome your public speaking fear and speak more confidently.
Prepare, prepare and prepare
Among the top public speaking tips is preparation. People will not really remember what you say but how you say it. They will most of your speech but they will always sense your confidence or your stress. For the audience to recognize your competence, you must get prepared. It is better to choose a topic, collect all the information, gather pieces that are relevant, and structure them into an engaging speech.
You might need to start with what you know especially if it is your first speech. Find relevant sources to make your speech credible. Do not forget to cite your sources during the speeches.
The next step is to choose a structure for example chronological, topical, causal (cause and effect), problem/solution.
Based on that, you are ready to make an introduction, a body and a conclusion.
Write down your full speech
Some professionals recommend starting with your conclusion because everything you say should lead to that final moment. You want people to remember the message so you organize your speech around that. Just like fireworks, it’s the most beautiful at the end; so must be your speech.
Another tip is to memorize thoroughly your introduction and your conclusion. Both parts are respectively the first and the last impression the audience will have of you. Memorizing them helps you begin with confidence and end with confidence.
Practice in private and deliver in public
Usain Bolt admits he cares more about his training than the Olympics. Everything happens behind the scene he said. We might not compete in the Olympics but let’s have the same mindset. We must train ourselves and practice as much as possible.
Go into a quiet room, preferably in front of a mirror. Repeat and act as if you were already in front of an audience.
You can rehearse in front of a small audience, with supportive people you’re familiar with.
Rehearse your speech and time it. This is important if we have an allotted time to present our speech. Be sure not to exceed the given time and review your written speech if you exceeded the fixed time TED talks usually lasts 15 minutes and at Toastmasters, we have from 5 to 7 minutes for a normal speech.
Highlight the main ideas you want to touch on. If you really want to be productive, learn how to use a mind map. Never memorize the full text word by word. This is one of the biggest mistakes beginners make. They want to memorize everything by heart. This takes too much time and a lot of brain resources. And you will get stressed if you ever forget a word (very likely to happen). Instead, remember the main idea and express that idea in a way you would talk to a friend. Then rehearse again and again. The audience wants you to be comfortable and be as natural as possible, not robotic. You are now ready for your presentation.
Right before your speech
Some speeches require more rehearsals than the others. If you have several days before the event, remember that repetition is the mother of skill. Repeat often.
The night before a speech, especially if it’s an important one, I usually like to meditate. This helps me calm my mind and focus on the task ahead. After a meditation, we can practice visualization. Visualize yourself delivering your speech in a confident way. It is especially at this time that you will feel the most stressed. You want to give up and cancel your speech. This is usually the moment when negative thoughts pop out in your mind. So calm down and breathe.
Relax and have a good sleep (sometimes easier said than done)
To help you get in shape: D-day
Here are other public speaking tips especially on D-Day. Arrive early and get familiar with the scene. Visualize yourself already successful with the applause at the beginning and the standing ovation at the end 😉
You can also warm up your voice and do simple diction exercises. Read texts aloud to get used to the sound, the modulations and the rhythm of your voice. Pay attention particularly to difficult words.
Breathe with your belly and relax. Stretch out and make a few movements if necessary. Relax the muscles that tense up because of the stage fright. Tony Robbins likes to jump on a trampoline before his speech. As he likes to say: “motion creates emotion” so do not neglect this part.
Remember that your conclusion is your crucial message. This is why you are there; people will remember you with that last impression.
Eventually, because of stress you might encounter lots of negative thoughts and self-defeating talks. Replace them with positive thoughts and use positive affirmations.
I guarantee you, by applying these public speaking tips; you’ll be able to tame your fear. As Zig Ziglar once said: “We don’t have to be great to start but we have to start to be great”, it all boils down to practice. Record your speech and identify where you need improvements. And finally, do not hesitate to join a Toastmasters club near you. Many successful people would recommend you to join a public speaking club. They create a strongly supportive environment that helps you succeed. Everything is designed to help you practice no matter excuses you might tell yourself.
There is a strong relationship between communication skills, public speaking and leadership. John Maxwell’s first law in his book “the 21 irrefutable laws of leadership” highlighted that “leadership ability determines a person’s level of effectiveness”. For this reason alone, we need to develop our communication skills and our influence.