Presence Training

7 Useful Tips to Help you Overcome a Fear of Public Speaking

 

 

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: 

  • Always start small – if public speaking is something you are just stepping into, you will do well to take small steps at first. Get a few friends and family members to practice your speech with. When you speak to smaller groups of people you know, you can establish solid foundations and build up your skills and confidence from there. 

  • Invest in preparation – if there is one thing that can ease your nerves and fear of public speaking the most, it is good preparation. When you know the material fully, you will feel that vital confidence to present it well to your audience. Knowing every part of will enable you to feel that you will be able to deliver it no matter what. Rehearsal is key to gaining this level of confidence. Practice delivery of the information several times, till you know you have it. 

  • Memorising the words doesn’t always work – there is no way to become good at public speaking or even to feel less anxiety about it if you set out to memorise the words of your speech. The goal for you should be to rather focus on the key points and learn your material around them. There are also prompts on various subtopics that you can use to better prepare the speech. Trying to memorise it will only add to the stress. 

  • Don’t use common bullets – forget about the endless monologues and boring bullet points on presentations. These don’t leave a lasting impression on the audience. Instead, make your material the focus of interest by adding in more visuals and other cues, which better convey your message. 

  • Work on the last-minute stress – every professional public speaker can tell you that the most amount of stress they feel comes just before they get out to face their audience. The way you can prevent and minimise that is by visualising a positive outcome. This is a method that professional athletes use to boost their results on the field. You can also focus on taking deep breaths, to stay composed and calm. 

  • Find something to focus on – when you are presenting in front of an audience, it will help greatly if you know someone in there and you can focus on them. Having a familiar face to look at and ease your nerves during the presentation can make all the difference. You can even introduce yourself to a few members of the audience before the presentation starts. 

  • Engage with the audience – instead of making it a monologue, you need to make every speech a two-way interaction. Include questions that you ask, and induce participation. This not only reduces boredom in your audience but also enables you to speak with greater ease. 

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. 

© Presence Training

 

5 Easily Overlooked things During Online Presentations

 

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: 

  • Lighting – many people use lighting that comes from behind them. Sometimes this is not a problem if it is a moderate amount. But, if you are standing in front of the window, and the camera is facing it, and there is a lot of sunlight coming through, you will make it very difficult for people to see your face. Your face will be a shadowy silhouette, which makes it rather uncomfortable to look at. Instead, you should have a light fixture that delivers soft glow from the front, so that it illuminates your face. The idea is that you want to be as visible as possible, and not have others squint at you. 

  • Noise – sometimes, this can be difficult to address. If you have a pet at home, it can be near impossible to have them make zero noise. Same goes for children if they like running around and yelling. The best thing you can do is find yourself a quiet room and close the door. Ask any members of your family to leave you in peace for the time of your online presence. As fir noise coming from outside your home, that is not entirely under your control, so nothing can be done. 

  • The way you dress – some people take advantage of the fact that their online audience will only see them from the shoulders up, and pay little attention to the way they are dressed. They can be in shorts, or sweatpants during an important presentation. But that is not the ideal way to go about it. First, you want to feel like you are standing in front of the people in-person. This will change the way you speak and the way you behave. Second, it will affect the way you stand in front of your camera. You may think these are subtle things, but in reality, they can affect your performance quite a lot. 

  • Camera – the best position for your camera is the same level as your face or just a little above that. Many people just leave their cameras pointing upwards, showing their faces from a really strange angle. You want to make it feel for the others like you are standing on the same level as them. This makes it easier for them to track your face and everything that you are saying. 

  • Ignoring your audience – one thing about online presentations is that the presenter can forget to give their audience a chance to participate. The main issue comes from the fact that others might not feel comfortable interrupting. And while during an in-person presentation someone can just raise their hand to ask for attention, they cannot do the same during an online talk. Instead, you should consider this and ask if anyone else has any questions up until this point. You can also have others ask their questions at the end, as long as you strictly give them the word. 

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. 

© Presence Training

 

5 Confidence Boosting Tips for Online Meetings

 

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: 

 

  • Do a lot of practice in front of the camera – how do people get better at something? Well, they practice and then practice some more. You cannot expect to feel good about something if you haven’t practised it enough. In the case of doing online meetings, you don’t even necessarily need to practice with real people. You can ‘cheat’ a little by practising just in front of a camera. You will then feel more comfortable in a real online environment when the time comes. 

 

  • Preparation is key – perhaps the best way to feel confident in an online meeting is to prepare yourself for it. Know what topic you will be discussing, what data is needed, what other people may need of you. And if you are only asked to observe, it is best to prepare some actionable points, which you can add to the meeting when an opening arises. Basically, the better prepared you are, the more confidence you will feel and less stress and anxiety about it. This is a great tip that works great for any public speaking performance, but it translates well into online meetings as well. 

 

  • Your appearance matters – most people usually tie their confidence in the way they look. That is also true in the virtual world, even though you are only visible from the torso up. Consider what physical features of yourself you feel are more frustrating and proactively address them. For instance, if you feel like your skin doesn’t look good on camera, employ some form of skincare regimen. Whatever it is, you can actively make yourself look better and thus gain some of that much needed sweet confidence in front of the camera. 

 

  • Become more familiar with technology – another way to be more comfortable during online meetings and presentations lies with increasing your knowledge of the technology used. Taking the time to learn all about the new platform and hardware till you are comfortable with it to the point where it doesn’t bother you. When you are unsure of the means of online meetings, you are losing focus and worrying extra about it, which can be problematic in many ways. 

 

  • Speak up – sometimes you have an idea of what you will say in your head. And then, the time never comes. The meeting ends, and you have not shared your ideas. Your goal should be to speak up, as this is going to boost your confidence. You may think that keeping it to yourself is the way to go, but in the end, you will just hate yourself for keeping quiet. Find the right phrases to speak up and wait for the right moment. Don’t just interrupt people mid-sentence, as that is just rude. ‘That concerns me a little’, ‘I have a question about ….’, ‘I have to say’ are all good phrases to use and get some attention. 

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. 

 

© Presence Training

 

4 Ways to Learn Public Speaking Skills

 

 

 

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: 

 

  • A public speaking course – the first thing you can do, to become a more confident and capable speaker is to take public speaking courses. There are many benefits to doing that. First, you get access to a wide range of experts, who can teach you all sorts of valuable skills and tricks that can help you get your message across. Second, by working with professionals, you will learn to manage your fear and gain much-needed confidence for a good performance. Last, but most definitely not least, there are online public speaking courses that you can take advantage of, which are very convenient and easy on your schedule. 

 

  • You can watch other public speakers – learning by watching others is a good way to spot what skills they have and what makes them good at public speaking. There are many famous speakers out there, whose speeches have left a mark in history. Check them out and see what sort of words they use for the occasion and how they resonate with the audience. Also, see some videos of famous speakers, to catch a glimpse of their body language and how they use that to emphasise their own words and reinforce their beliefs. Mind their style and how you can use them as a prime example to develop your speaking methods that serve your needs. 

 

  • Practice with others – if you truly wish to hone your public speaking skills, you need to practice more. Thankfully, there are plenty of opportunities for that. For example, you can try doing public speaking with your closest friends and family members. Once you feel more comfortable, engage in such activities with your co-workers and during other social interactions. The more you speak to others, the more confidence you gain in your abilities. It won’t be long before you feel prepared to speak to any group and in any situation. 

 

  • Record yourself on video – this is a strategy that many public speakers use as part of their preparation process for a big speech. They rehearse by recording themselves on video and then watching it closely. This allows them to catch on certain mistakes they are making in their speech or body language. You may think this is strange, but a simple recording can reveal details like where you look during your speech, and how much you wave your hands around. These details only seem minor, but in reality, they are an important part of the speech/presentation that you cannot afford to neglect. 

 

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. 

 

© Presence Training

 

6 Common Presentation Blunders to Avoid

 

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: 

 

  • Little preparation – more often than you would imagine, a good presentation doesn’t go as planned because the speaker has not invested the needed time for preparation. It takes a good effort to find a balance between the professional and the personal aspects of the presentation. There are personal elements – body language, appearance, voice. Then there are the professional parts of it – the content, the subject and the visuals/media that contributes. Preparing all of the fine little details of these 2 aspects is perhaps the most important first step to a killer presentation. 

 

  • Wrong use of visuals – it is not a secret that visuals turn a presentation from good to great. However, visuals have the potential to detract from the content, instead of enhancing it. Slides get unattractive if they are overcrowded. Lengthy paragraphs repel people’s attention, rather than attract it. Instead, a good presentation should feature minor points in bullets, instead of lengthy paragraphs. Learning these simple principles can lead to visual enhancement, which will serve you well on your presentations. 

 

  • Having no clue about the audience – the best presenters out there know that they have to do a custom design of their presentation, which fits the audience. Knowing as much as possible about the people who will listen to you is crucial. Their demographics, occupation and age, as well as how much they know about the topic in question constitute valuable data, which will help you design the presentation in the best possible way. Researching these factors could mean the difference between success and failure. 

 

  • Using inappropriate humour – just a single off-colour joke can render your further efforts futile. People may get offended and it is always better to consider ‘neutral’ humour, rather than one that goes too far. You may think that what you are saying is funny, whereas in reality people might be sensitive to it and view you as unprofessional. It is best to be highly considerate of this when doing any kind of presentations. 

 

  • You start or end late – when it comes to presentations, there is the clock you need to abide to. It is never a good idea to start or end a presentation late. People in the audience have their time restrictions and they don’t want to feel stressed about it, because of you. Practice your presentation so that you stay within the allotted amount of time and always be on time at the start. 

 

  • You are cramming too much into a short presentation – you have to learn how to cut back/cut out material. If the time you have for your presentation is short, you will need those skills, to make a workable presentation. You can pass extra information in the handouts, remove minor details and only focus on the important stuff. 

 

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. 

 

© Presence Training

 

6 Important Things That Public Speaking Courses Teach You

 

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: 

  • You learn that being nervous is normal - there are many physiological reactions to standing up in front of an audience and giving a speech. Your heart begins to race, you feel shortness of breath, and your hands begin to shake. One of the most important things that public speaking courses teach you is to not relate these feelings with your performance. In other words, that adrenaline rush you get as you stand up in front of the audience can be something you use to become more alert and focused, instead of a hindrance. That way you can welcome your feelings of nervousness and use them to nail the presentation you are doing. 

  • You begin to pay more attention to your audience - doing a public speech is all about reaching other people. During your courses, you will learn that to craft your message in accordance with the audience is key and that it should be your major goal at all times. 
  • The way to organise your speech - organizing your speech most efficiently is important and that is something you will learn from public speaking courses. Researching the topic and preparing your material are both very important aspects of the speech and it is a good idea to go through them effectively. 

  • Learn how to receive feedback and adapt to it - sometimes the audience gives you a clear indication that you are doing something wrong or that you are doing something right. If you notice people with absent-minded look who are checking their phones all the time, perhaps you need to step up your game. Alternatively, if people are lively and follow your every word with interest, then you are doing something and should continue in the same manner. 

  • You become a better communicator - giving a public speech is all about forwarding a message and making sure that it is well understood. Sadly, that is not always the case in your daily life. Yet, attending public speaking courses can often help the situation quite a bit. You will learn how to craft and communicate your message more clearly, to achieve the desired effect and avoid misunderstandings. 

  • You learn to be more mindful of your body language - it is not only important to be a good communicator, but also to use effective body language. The way you move in front of the audience, the way you use gestures to stress certain points of your presentation and a whole lot of other non-verbal ways of communication are essential for your success as a speaker. Mastering those is possible with the help of a public speaking course. 

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. 

 

© Presence Training

7 Tips on Utilising Space in Your Presentation

 

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. 

© Presence Training

 

Tips on How to Practice Before a Presentation

 

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

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.

Content

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.

Vocal tone

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.

 

© Presence Training

 

6 Ways of Overcoming the Fear of Public Speaking

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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.

 

© Presence Training

Make Sure You Don't run Into These Problems With Your Speech

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:

 

  • Feeling unconfident – lacking confidence is a sure way to alienate your audience. People have a way of detecting nervousness, even if you try your best to hide it. The good news is that lack of confidence is something you can fix. With sufficient time for preparation and research on the topic, you will not just gain confidence in your skills, but the much-needed sense of control. These are all much necessary factors for the success of your speech.
  • You don’t know much about the audience – if you don’t know the audience, your speech will hardly be successful. Knowing their age, values, cultures, occupation and knowledge is essential for setting the tone of your speech, as well as its content. If you cannot relate the material to your audience, maintain eye contact and read facial expressions, you can have your speech negatively interpreted. It is best to use anecdotes and explain how your presentation will greatly benefit the audience.
  • Not coming prepared – practice is the most important factor for a good speech. Practice alone, practice with friends, record yourself and analyse the speech. Are you rushing words at some point? Do you need to improve word flow? Can you change your intonation to sound more enthusiastic? You can easily catch any glitches in your speech if you just practice enough and use the right methods for it. By rehearsing, you become familiar with the presentation and also sound more credible. In turn, this invites speakers to ask any questions.
  • You don’t manage your time well – you don’t have unlimited time to present your speech. Running overtime isn’t ideal, because it shows you haven’t organised your points well enough. Timing the delivery of your material is essential, especially if you wish to leave some time for questions. It is a good idea to rehearse as if you have a little less time to speak so that you don’t feel the pressure.
  • Organise your material – one of the most important aspects of your speech is gathering the material and organising it into a presentation. Arrange your information in a way that will grab their attention, keep them interested with visuals throughout the presentation and follow with a conclusion. That way you will give flow to your speech, which is the best way to give a presentation.

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.

 

© Presence Training  

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