Do you flinch every time someone mentions the words ‘public speaking? Even if you are otherwise confident in your life, the prospect of speaking to a big audience of people is not easy to go through. But that is common for many individuals – the fear and anxiety of public speaking.
It is among the most common fears in the world. Unfortunately, it is one thing many have to overcome, because of career prospects and other opportunities. There is a lot you can do to minimise this issue, and the following tips can greatly help in that regard:
Following these simple strategies is a good way to reduce the fear of public speaking. Remember, it takes a lot of preparation, but overcoming those negative feelings is never an impossible task.
Nowadays, more people than ever are doing online presentations and online talks with an audience. Whether it is webinars or business calls on some of the online conferencing software options, you are probably experiencing the same shift.
There is little doubt that online conferencing comes with a set of challenges, which are different from when you are doing in-person public speaking. And while you may be well-experienced to handle the in-person task just fine, the online part is a bit different. There are various things you may forget to address, which will negatively impact your performance. Do consider them all:
These are all important aspects of online presentations that you should not forget about. They can secure the success or lead to a failure of your presentation.
Zoom meetings and other virtual solutions have pretty much become the norm nowadays. More and more people find the only solution to continue work from home, and this is a way for them to stay connected.
But this change in the way you conduct meetings may seem hard to adjust to. A virtual environment is nothing like meeting people face to face, and doing presentations online may not be your strong trait. To gain some confidence, you can adopt a few tactics:
These are all working tips to boost your confidence in online meetings. Use them all and you will see that they have a positive effect.
To many people, public speaking presents the number one fear in the world. They rank it as the worst thing they can go through. And the fact that many people believe that a good public speaker can only be born and never made doesn’t help one bit.
The reality of things is that everyone has the potential to become good at public speaking. No matter how much anxiety you get at the idea and how stressed you are, there are ways to help you overcome this fear and allow you to learn the skills that good public speakers possess. There are several things you can consider in regards to learning public speaking skills:
As you can see, there are quite a few ways to practice your public speaking skills and become better at it. It is up to you to pick the one method that works best for what you want to achieve. It is better yet if you can combine a few of them, to reap the best rewards.
Doing presentations is not an easy feat, especially if you feel like you are getting anxious just at the thought of it. A lot of people feel under immense pressure when they are about to present, and so they make mistakes. According to experts, the best learning process you can make involves learning the potential mistakes and working your way around them. As you get to avoid them, you will find that presentations are not as tough as you once believed. Let’s check out some of the common blunders people run into when it comes to presentations:
Knowing more about these all too common mistakes will enable you to better create the best presentation. Always try to improve and stay on top of your presentation game.
If you were to ask a few people whether they are scared of flying, or insects or snakes, you will get some positive answers. However, if you were to ask the same people whether they fear to give a public speech, it is more than likely that 90% of them will say they dread the experience. A lot of people are afraid of public speaking, and that is nothing extraordinary.
One thing that can help in this situation comes in the form of public speaking courses. Picking a company that offers such services and working with a proven expert on public speaking is a good way to master your skills and overcome any fear and anxiety. There are a few important things that public speaking courses teach you, explored in brief in this article:
There is much that you can gain from getting yourself involved in a public speaking course. In doing so, you will greatly improve in a variety of ways.
There is just no way that a presenter standing still during the whole presentation can make a good impact on their audience. No matter where you are and how many people you are talking to, you should incorporate movement. It increases the energy and adds some variety to the presentation.
As you move, you appear and feel more confident. That is often enough to guarantee success with your presentation. Planning a few different positions and using them when the time comes is a good way to boost your speech. Here are a few additional clever tips in that regard:
1. Find the power position and state your key message from there
The core and essence of your entire presentation is the key message you want to convey. For it to have the greatest impact, you should speak it out from the power position. This is basically the dead centre of the place, close to your audience. That way, it will resonate with them the most.
2. Map the structure on the stage
As you use the physical space on the stage, you should map out the structure of your presentation and where you will be during any given moment. For instance, when you first start, you can position yourself in one part of the room, slowly move to the centre when you are approaching the second part, and then move to the other side as you advance towards the end. Return to the centre for the conclusion. That way, you will improve engagement in the presentation.
3. Utilise a stage timeline
This strategy is similar to the previous point; only it has to do with time. For instance, if you are describing things from the past, position yourself on one side of the room. As you move to the centre, start talking about how things are now. If you want to make a point about the future, move to the other side of the room. It is good to keep ‘the past’ to your audience’s left (not your left).
4. Imagine you are in a debate when explaining pros and cons
So during a debate, the two sides are arguing with each other on different areas of the stage. And while you are alone during your presentation, you can easily adapt this strategy when describing pros and cons. Pick a side for describing pros and then pick a different side of the room when describing cons. That way, the audience will get a clear view of your arguments.
5. Physical reflection of the points of view
The different points of view on a given topic often go from one extreme to another. Use the room to showcase this by picking one side of the room for one of the extremes, and the other for the second extreme. Needless to say, the centre is the golden middle, where you will state the middle ground.
6. A spot for every option
When you want to present a range of options, as is often the case, give each one a different spot of the room. To further emphasise the option, return to that spot of the room when you later go back to discuss it.
7. Move close to your audience for emphasis
Normally, you will be standing some distance away from your audience. However, when you want to emphasise something, you should seek closeness. This is a powerful move, which some even consider intimidating, but it does hold great potential. If you want to minimise this aspect, simply stand close to someone and then look at another part of the audience.
Utilising movement in this manner during your presentation is a great way to get your message across.
You may think that presentation skills come with age, but reality has proven otherwise. There is zero doubt that you can learn a trick or two in regards to becoming a masterful presenter and a large number of them boil down to getting decent practice.
The practice is not just a way to get a better idea of what you need to focus on, but it is also what your brain needs. When you do some task, it is your brain that coordinates the motor functions, sensory processing and verbal skills. The process is called myelination, which is exactly what practice triggers. That is your brain’s way of telling you that you have done it before, and you can do it again, only better.
Now that you have learned that practice has a way to make your presentations better, you need to learn effective ways of practising. But before that…
What should you practice
Body language makes a major part of the way you appear in front of your audience. It involves hand gestures, posture, facial expressions, movements and so much more.
Practice doesn’t just mean memorising your speech and knowing what to answer the most common questions. It is knowing your content backwards and forwards but in a natural way. It is learning how to provide it smoothly, instead of just drilling the major points.
Effective ways to practice
Now that you know practice is important and you know what aspects of the presentation to practice, it is time you learn some ways to make the process more effective.}
Don’t sit down
As you practice, make it a point to stand up, and not remain seated. It is very likely that you will be standing tall when the time comes. That way the experience will be more familiar to you.
Do not practice alone
All presentations share one simple thing: you perform them in front of an audience. There is hardly any use of practising alone. Much better to contact some friends and practice your speech in front of them. If that is not possible, record the practice session to gauge the way you speak and behave during the speech so that you can remove any mistakes.
Try the ‘opposite’ approach
One common way to fix mistakes in your presentation after identifying them is to try doing the exact opposite thing. For example, if you see yourself talking too quickly, try slowing down as much as possible. This way you will have a nice idea of how to balance the flaw.
Add some background noise
In an effort to fully recreate the setting of a presentation, you should add some background noise to your practice. It can be music or chatter. That way you will have better focus when the time comes because you will learn how to overcome distractions.
Break down your presentation
If you think your message is too long and hard to grasp, try breaking down your points into small chunks. When you do the presentation in sections, and the sections into sentences, you will find it easier to navigate and learn how to present efficiently.
How often should you practice
Don’t believe the myth that too much practice will undermine your authenticity. When you internalise your material, you will actually feel free to improvise if an opportunity arises. Getting more practice over a longer period of time will help you. Avoid cramming all of your practice hours just before doing the presentation, as that could have a negative impact on it.
Now that you know more about the importance of practice and how to make the most of it, you are ready to conquer your presentation.
Find out more great tips at Presence Training.
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Did you know that the average person finds natural disasters, theft, loneliness, ghosts and even the very thought of death less frightening than giving out a public speech? Strange as it may seem, more people are afraid to stand up in front of an audience and deliver a speech than they are of all of the aforementioned things. It has even become an official phobia – glossophobia.
Despite the fact you may feel dread at the very thought of public speaking, you must understand that it is an essential skill for advancing in your career, presenting ideas or closing a major business deal. To be successful, you can use the following tips for overcoming the fear of public speaking, all of which can help you overcome it:
Mindful breathing – when you are nervous, your breathing becomes shallow, and you may feel shortness of breath. Needless to say, this only makes the problem of nervousness worse and makes you appear bad. To overcome this sensation, you need better control of your breath. Taking deep breaths before your presentation can calm you down, as well as doing so during the speech. The time it takes you to take one full deep breath is enough to ease any nervousness you may be feeling. One more benefit is that deep breathing maintains your voice centred and eliminates the chance of uptalk, which can be detrimental to your credibility during a presentation.
Practice makes perfect – you know well enough that it takes a lot of practice to hone any skill. But when doing that, you really should try to emulate the same experience as speaking in front of an audience. There are few ways to do so. For starters, you can wear the same outfit to note if you are comfortable enough in it. Next, don’t just rehearse on your own. Call friends or family members to hear you out and ask them for feedback. You can also record your rehearsal or make a video to better correct any mistakes. All of this will have a massive impact on your readiness and help you feel less scared.
Change your views on public speaking – many people believe that public speaking is a talent and you either have it, or you don’t. However, this sort of thinking can hold you back and lead you to fear public speaking. You must think of it as a skill, which you can learn and perfect with sufficient training.
You need to be yourself – a large part of your stress may be coming from the fact that you think public speaking is a lot like acting. However, you really don’t need to be someone else or learn to pretend. In fact, the most effective way to reach your audience is to be yourself. Let your personality shine through, as that will leave a lasting impression.
Get off to a good start – how you open a public speech sets the tone for the rest of it. Remember to have a strong opening, perhaps a light joke to crack the ice. Needless to say, you should practice this whenever you get the chance since it makes such a big difference to the overall speech.
Do not overthink – if you are too concentrated on your speech, chances are you will feel quite nervous. According to experts, it is a thing that can trip you up, so you should tell yourself to be calm and keep your composure.
These are all fantastic ways to combat the fear of public speaking. Make sure you implement them all, and you will find out just how much better you will be able to speak in front of an audience.
At Presence Training you can find more useful information on overcoming the fear of public speaking.
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If you ever do research on public speaking, you will find numerous great examples. It is true that the people these speeches belong to have invested quite a lot of effort and skill to present the masterpiece for you to admire. Perhaps the one thing in common they all have is that they do their best to avoid some common problems in speeches. This is what separates them from the ‘good’ speeches. If you wish to get on the ‘great’ level, make sure you avoid the following problems:
By avoiding these simple problems, you can undoubtedly improve your public speaking skills and become a better speaker.
Find out what other aspects of public speaking you can improve with Presence Training by calling 020 7112 9194 or take a look at this page.
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