Public speaking tips & How to overcome fear of public speaking
Introduction to Public Speaking: Can you think of any memorable talk or presentation you have ever attended? It is sad to know that most of the presentations are easy to forget, especially when the main reason behind the presentation was to communicate something to you.
But if you remember these four basic things, then be assured that your verbal messages will be understood and remembered for long. Though these things may sound somewhat obvious and deceptively simple, they are of immense importance.
- You should understand your presentation’s purpose.
- Don’t confuse things; keep your message clear and exact.
- Be prepared well to face the audience and their questions.
- Don’t be monotonous; instead be vivid while giving the speech.
Always be clear about the idea that what do you want to achieve. It is very essential for you to know and understand, before you start working on your presentation or speech, what you want to say, whom you want to approach as your audience and why is it important for them to listen. Ask basic questions to yourself such as whom do you want to speak to, what are their interests, their beliefs, and principles, what is common between them and others and how do they differ.
What is the message you want to convey to your audience? You can answer this question by asking yourself about the ‘success criteria’. How will you come to know whether and when your message has been successfully communicated?
The timing is also very important. Your contributions are seen and heard as relevant to the issue only if you develop a sense of timing. You should know when the time to speak is and when is it the time to be silent.
Next important question is ‘where?’ You should bear in mind the physical context of the communication. In case you are using audio or visual aids, then check for availability and visibility. Visit the venue if you can.
To ensure that your audience listens to you and not just hear, you must know why they should be listening and tell them so if it is necessary.
Maintain simplicity. When you are conveying your message, useless but powerful words to leave a better impact. When you start giving too much of the information to the audience, they get overloaded and thus, tend to get bored.
In case you are using slides, use a simple single statement or a diagram to convey your message, limit your content.
How to achieve successful delivery of speech? How you represent yourself, your speech and the presentation leave a long lasting impression on the audience. The only way to achieve success here is by practicing hard. Here are some tips to hold your audience’s attention:
- Associate your speech to the life by stating instances and citing examples.
- Don’t just stand and give your speech, bring in some animation, use your body language.
- Give pauses where ever you can. Don’t talk too fast or else the audience won’t be able to understand you.
- Use voice modulation. Stress on main points and use various tones of voice.
- If possible, use audio and visual aids.
Though public speaking and presentations appear to be a daunting task, they can be turned into an enjoyable and rewarding experience once you have practiced and rehearsed well. Always be a confident and enthusiastic speaker.
Getting Started The Public Speaking
If you ‘have’to or if you ‘want’ to make a eulogy speech so as to express your inner feelings you have, in public, for your near and dear one who has just left the world, then read this article.
It is very much understandable that such a time is really very tough to compose a eulogy speech or maybe anything else. It is a hard time and you find it difficult to focus as you are distressed. But it is fine. Here are a few simple and easy tips which can help you write a nice eulogy speech:
Adding a story or communication that you have shared with the deceased is one of the best element to put in the eulogy speech. It can be any, a funny or a heart-wrenching one. You can do with one of each type also. But it is great to have a single story that has both the elements. It is not mandatory for you to tell only one story.
You can start your eulogy with an incident re-counting how you interacted with your loved one. You can even talk about an incidence that you will remember for a lifetime of them that you had when you were a child. Or you can tell about an important lesson of life that you have learned from them and how helpful it has been in your journey.
One of the benefits of adding a story to your eulogy speech is that since you have lived that moment there is no need for you to memorize and read the words. You have a vivid memory of it. Since you have been through that moment, all you need to do is to make a rough outline of the incident or make brief bullet points in your notes. Then during the speech, you can begin about it by saying anything that briefly reminds you of the anecdote you wish to share.
There are some other things too that you need to remember while composing a eulogy speech. But to assist you while you get started and to eradicate the pressure of creating a lovely and a great tribute to your loved one, the story will be an excellent idea.
Tom Antion is a renowned speech expert and is also the author of a book called “Instant Eulogy Speeches”. This book helps you write a nice eulogy speech even though you are downright upset and depressed. It also contains very lovely photographs and phrases that you can use in your finished eulogy. You can also add many more pieces of appropriate humor so as to ease the tension of the atmosphere.
Get Rid of Your Speaking Fear
You can reduce your fear of speaking in the public by simply adopting some of the following tips.
- Conduct thorough research on your topic. To meet the expectation of the audience, visit or call the key participants and have a chat with them. Get to know what they expect from your presentation, what they want to learn and what do they already know. Then prepare your presentation accordingly so that it benefits them. These sorts of conversations help you learn and know what your audience expects from you and thus give you the advantage of preparing accordingly beforehand.
- Prepare well. Don’t write down the whole speech, but a rough outline with the help of the keywords. Then rehearse as much as you can. Be assured that you are able to deliver your speech in a conversational manner without reading the script. Do not memorize it word for word. It will make it sound robotic and dull. Moreover, it makes things complicated. Just in case you forget a point you may keep on stumbling in your speech. So avoid it. Keep practicing your speech anywhere and anytime you find it possible.
- Rehearse well for it. Keep on practicing your speech among a group of friends or coworkers and if possible even with your boss. Ask them about their views on your speech and try to improve accordingly. Also, take advantage of this opportunity to get familiar with the room and equipment. This helps you face the audience confidently.
- Always play a gentle and an amiable host. Get friendly with your audience by arriving early at the venue and greeting them beforehand. Some simple gestures such as shaking hands with them and thanking them for coming can help you build up a warm rapport with them. Try to engage them in a simple talk with you by introducing yourself and asking them about their well being, etc. Convert the strangers into friends and make them feel comfortable.
- Always expect success. If you expect it, then you will definitely work hard to achieve it too. Fantasize yourself doing a wonderful job with perfection. Never scare yourself with nightmares. When you expect yourself to do well, you gain confidence. Remember that everyone expects you to do an excellent job.
Making a Fluent Speech
Do you stammer when you have to speak in front of someone or a gathering?
Then this article is meant for you. If you are looking forward to achieving fluency, read on. This article will interest you as it looks at the speech impediment such as stammering and stuttering. I am Steve Hill. Since the age of four, I have been suffering from a stutter. Though I had regular conventional speech therapy sessions, I continued to stutter until the age of twenty-two.
Life was extremely frustrating when I used to stutter. But there were times when I could speak very well too. Whenever I used to speak to my ex-girlfriend, I rarely ever stuttered. But it was quite disheartening that when I attempted to speak to her parents, I struggled quite a lot.
I noticed that whenever I was drunk, my fluency level used to improve tremendously and at that time if I used to stutter, it came to me as a shock!
I could never deduce that why I used to stutter talking to some person when I was totally fluent speaking to the other. Also, I found it hard to understand why I could speak without any problem when I was drunk and stutter when I was sober.
It was indeed a negative attitude and I could not accept what I was hearing and reading because I knew that I was able to talk very well without stuttering at all at times.
One day while watching television I came across Bruce Willis’ interview. Now I consider myself fortunate enough to have seen it. In that interview, Bruce Willis stated that he too suffered from the problem of stuttering which started when he was a young boy. However, by the time he reached his late teens, he had managed to attain fluency. I was inspired by it tremendously and it was then that I decided that I would attempt and overcome my speech impediment.
It took a year’s intense labor and hard work for me to overcome my speech impediment. I never lost the hope and kept thinking positive. Pouring over books and by basically studying the people whom I thought were great speakers, I managed to beat my stutter. Now I have made it my career, I help people achieve fluency.
Keeping Your Audience Attentive
To highlight the occasion, be it award ceremonies, conventions, alumni, fundraising, homecomings, commencement exercise etc., guest speakers are usually invited. Guest speakers are usually selected according to their accomplishments and popularity so as to make the gathering a memorable one.
In order to be successful and impart a lasting image in the eyes of the audience, a speaker must find out techniques and methods to keep the audience’s attention glued to his speech. The following are a few methods you can stick to:
- Always speak in an enthusiastic tone and remember to keep your voice clear, crisp and comprehensible. Try not to stumble in your speech or eat words in between.
- The speech you make at such gatherings must be in consonance with its aim and should touch the issues related and relevant to its purpose and valid to present needs for the advantage of the greater part.
- Many speakers prefer a list of subjects they want to discuss instead of preparing, memorizing and rehearsing the whole speech word for word. An impulsive speech aligned on the subjects listed is projected more naturally.
- To keep the audience attentive and at tender hooks, inject humor into your speech. But bear in mind to keep humor up to a decent level so that unintentionally you may not embarrass others or get yourself misunderstood by them.
- The best way to raise an issue is by citing examples and instances. Clearly associate the example and the issue so as to make the audience understand better.
- If you are to make a speech in a gathering that has been organized to save an industry or boost the morale of those associated with it either directly or indirectly, try and deliver a stimulating and motivating speech. To turn the mood from depressing to an enthusiastic one, include some inspirational words and positive thoughts that will project a bright and happy tomorrow.
- Your speech may sound more of a discussion if you involve the audience but in one way it will confirm the usefulness of what you are saying and offering.
- Always be precise and realistic in your projection of the industry in positive flight five or ten years from now on. Call for hard work is need be.
- The best way to wrap up your speech is by leaving a lasting and meaningful message for the audience to ponder upon.
To make the audience remember you even long after the speech has been made, say significant stuff giving food to the audience’s brain.
Liven Your Audience
Have you ever been put to sleep by a boring speaker? While you fight the urge to slip happily into your dreamland, your head is nodding though paying the least attention.
Though many of you will not admit it surely this has happened to all of us at least once. But don’t ever let it happen when you are the speaker. The only way to keep your audience alive and active while you are making a speech is to interact with them and involve them into it. There are various ways to involve your audience:
- Ask questions to the audience. It will make them work their brains and think of an answer. If you feel that people are losing interest, simply put up a question and select someone from the audience to answer it. Whether you get the answer or not thank that person and proceed to someone else in the audience. This keeps the audience active both mentally and physically.
- Always finish the sentence. If you just begin a famous sentence such as “Lions and tigers and bears…” and leave it midway, only those people familiar to the movie “The Wizard of Oz” will be able to respond to you. Always choose something that is obvious for them to guess.
- Whenever you feel that the room is heavy with energy, change it using this simple technique. Ask a simple question and then the question “Is this good stuff?” And as the audience replies with a “Yes”, you tell them to turn to people on their either side and give them a high-five and say this aloud ‘this is good stuff’. It really makes them get a kick out of it.
- According to a famous millionaire, T. Harv Ecker you should get your audience to do the work for you. In order to achieve this, break your audience into groups of two or three and then hand over some exercises to them that are an integral part of your presentation. In order to tempt your audience to remain active and participate reward them for the same. Ask questions to the audience and then whoever answers; just reward them with candy. People compete for it and hence, it becomes a game. Use it only for a few minutes in the middle of your talk.
There are plenty of other ways to involve your audience. You as a speaker should come up with various new techniques that you feel are appropriate for your audience and for you.
Presenting Without PowerPoint
It is easy to make presentations today, thanks to PowerPoint. In order to make the process of teaching and learning easy and fun-filled, teachers and lecturers use presentations. Still, there are professionals who follow their age-old beliefs for presentations and thus make them without using PowerPoint.
It is boring to have presentations without the use of PowerPoint. Minus the musical background and visual aids, the presentation appears quite monotonous. With the help of PowerPoint there comes in a huge change for the audience in the presentation. Thus, the use of creativity is essential in the presentations being made without the aid of PowerPoint.
To give a successful presentation without the use of PowerPoint, always remember to be precise and exact about what you are talking. Remember to first understand and learn the disposition and nature of the audience and then make your presentation.
Always present the beginning of the presentation by keeping in mind the end of it. Without PowerPoint you might lose the interest of the audience soon, so always remember the purpose of your presentation. To leave a lasting image, make a strong start. Since you are presenting without PowerPoint, always remember to set the right tone among the audience to listen to you throughout your presentation by carefully planning your first words and appearance.
Props can also be used to make a presentation, without PowerPoint. Look interesting because a prop may convey a message more easily and substantially. As long as it conveys the message, it works as an effective tool.
By bringing in the solutions to the problem you are discussing in your presentation, you can grab the attention of the audience, even though you are not using the PowerPoint. As you have already researched the audience, you would already know their problem and all you will need to do is to bring in new ideas to make them try it.
The only visual aid for the audience, if you are not using the PowerPoint, is you. So minus the PowerPoint, the success of the presentation depends solely on the speaker as there are no fancy slides to drive them off the speaker. So the speaker needs to be self-confident and well versed in his speech.
Handling Public Speaking Question
The deciding factor as to how your presentation is received by the audience is how you handle the questions put up by the audience. It becomes all the more important if you are pitching for business.
- Always be prepared for the questions. When you are preparing for your speech or presentation, think about the questions that are likely to be put up and then prepare your answers.
- Make it clear in your mind as to when do you want to take up the questions, along with your presentation or at the end of it. Choose whatever suits you but then don’t change, once you have decided.
- Never end your presentation with questions. Always ask for questions at least five to ten minutes before the end, deal with them and end by summarizing because if you don’t get any questions then the end of your presentation becomes a bit flat.
- Whenever a question is popped at you, listen to it carefully and do look like you are listening. You might have faced the same questions innumerable times before but remember to treat your questioner with respect and don’t play down their question.
- Always thank your questioner. It’s polite and shows respect. It also lends you time to ponder upon your answer.
- Repeat the questions aloud as many of the people in the audience might not have heard and thus it may not make any sense to them. It also makes you look in control and clever.
- Answer to everyone in the audience and not just to the questioner. Most of the time what happens is, if the questioner is in the front, the speaker ends up having the conversation with him/her and excludes everyone else.
- Always try and keep it simple. By the time you reach the question part of your presentation, most of the audience have become relaxed and thus might drag the session with too many questions.
- Don’t try to bluff your audience. If someone asks you a question to which you don’t know the answer, simply tell them and assure them that you will get back to them after you have found out the answer.
It might be possible that no one from the audience asks any question which leaves an awkward silence. People might need some time to get what you have said and then ask. But to avoid that awkward silence you may ask some questions to yourself and then head for the summary and closing statement.
Avoiding Panic Attacks
Many people dread speaking in public and hence associate with the panic attack. It is possible that they might have had an anxiety-producing public speaking experience. It has been noticed that people who frequently have to speak in public, suffer from panic attacks.
Here is a very interesting story about a girl named Amber. Amber, when entered into high school had many risk factors for panic attacks. Until her final semester, Amber was somehow successful at avoiding a speech class. But to graduate, she was supposed to take a speech. Amber was always dreading the idea of taking up public speaking class, though she had never received any diagnosis of panic attacks or anxiety disorder. Even the idea of standing up facing a class full of her peers was enough to make her feel dizzy and nauseous.
The teacher recommended her to visit the school counselor before coming to their next class. This made Amber feel embarrassed and she became even more anxious at the thought of meeting the counselor.
However, the school counselor was very much familiar with the symptoms of a panic attack and knew well that the students feel uncomfortable to discuss it in front of their friends. In order to make Amber face her next day of speech class, the counselor advised her to stand up in front of her family whenever she wanted to talk.
Amber told her family what she was trying to do to overcome her fear of speaking in the public. That night at dinner, every time Amber wanted to have an item passed to her, she stood up. Speaking in front of her family was a lot different than speaking in front of her peers, but that practice enabled her to get through her next class without any full-blown panic attack.
One night before she had a big speech due, Amber asked a few of her friends to come to her home. She wanted to practice her speech in front of them and her family until she was sure to get through it sans any amount of anxiety. This technique is called systematic desensitization. It is indeed one of the most widely used techniques to get people rid of panic attacks.
Overcome the Confidence Killers
To become a confident person, all one has to do is to eradicate the confidence killers. The self-defeating thought patterns are called confident killers. Many of us believe in these harmful suppositions. Here are a few confidence killers mentioned, see if you have any:
- Do you consider yourself as the “All for Nothing” sniper? If you believe so, then probably it is the biggest reason why you never seem to enjoy even your smallest victories that you have achieved in life. You think of yourself as someone who is a complete failure if you have failed to achieve perfection. If you stop being so hard to yourself, you might become a confident person.
- Never think that there is always a disaster waiting for you. Don’t let the Dark Cloud of Destruction make you think silly things. Believe in yourself and move ahead.
- The next confident killer is ‘Warlord of Negative Magnification’. If you pay heed to this one, you won’t ever be able to overcome your lack of confidence. It’s simple and makes you believe that if this is something good, it doesn’t really count. You will build up more and more negative energy starting from a tiny speck by magnifying it like a mountain. For instance, suppose you have won eight contests but you failed to achieve success in the ninth one, then don’t think about the one you lost, but instead look at the eight achievements. Doing the other way round makes you kill your confidence.
- Never go by the thought that if you feel it then it must be so. It blocks the clear thinking parts of your brain. It is not always that what you feel is actually the truth. No one can be perfect always; we all have some days when we are not able to perform to the perfection. Don’t let your emotions overrun your lives. Be confident that maybe the next day you will be better.
- Perfectionists are bound to be good at making ‘should statements’. But what one must remember is that should statement are more about what, according to you, is expected by the people from you and not what you really want. Taking an example, if someone makes a statement that everyone should have an education plan. Then the people who don’t have an education plan might fret at this thought and think that there is something wrong with them.
- Don’t label yourself as a loser. Never say that you are a loser or everything went wrong because of you. If you have to label yourself, then better label yourself as a confident person. Throw away this libelous labeler attitude.
- Never be a compliment constrictor, this won’t ever allow you to accept a compliment. It will instead make you feel you are not worth it.
If you are able to find out your confidence killer(s) from these, then half of the battle is over. The only thing that is now left is to train yourself in order to abandon these confidence-killing thoughts.
Secrets to building confidence
We need to build up our confidence from time to time. How we feel about ourselves has a lot to do with feeling confident. To feel confident, we should have this feeling that we can achieve the goals we have set for ourselves.
Everyone has been gifted with one or the other talent. To think like a winner we must feel confident that we are good with these skills. Below are a few ways are given to train yourself to think like a winner:
Prepare a “to-do” list for yourself. Never complain that you have tried something before and that it did not work. It is this list that can make you feel like a winner. Always make a list that is fun and easy to get done so that it makes you feel like a winner. The list can be utterly easy too so that even after doing these small jobs; confidence is developed in you.
It is more of a self-conditioning list. When at the end of the day you see all the check marks on your “to-do” list, it makes you feel that you have had a productive day. You gain confidence as you find out your abilities to have things get done.
You come to think of yourself as a winner after having done the things you have listed on your fun list. In case you have forgotten to make a list at the beginning of the day, make a list of the things you have done on that day and at the end of it, mark them off.
This fun “to-do” list of yours may sound like a silly technique to build up self-confidence, but remember that the subconscious part of our mind doesn’t bother what is real and what is imaginary. All that matters to that part of your mind is that you are accomplishing something every day by making sure you have done everything that you have listed. Slowly and gradually you will notice a change in your confidence level. As it starts to mount, add up some real tasks in your list and do them with the same ‘feel-good’ attitude.
As you are just beginning, don’t add too many tasks. Disguise the real tasks that you want to achieve with the easy ones. Feeling good is an important element in building up of confidence so even these small accomplishments help boost your confidence immensely. If you know someone who is a very confident person, then look up to them. They are always smiling. So have fun in your life and enjoy it. It will definitely make you feel like a winner.
Successful Public Speech
Many people avoid and dread speaking in public. But like all other fears, we need to overcome this one too. It has been a common observation that many people tend to get nervous before and during their speech or presentation.
It is often recommended to practice meditation or take regular breaths whenever you feel nervous. Since it’s a natural reaction, it is good to take a few deep breaths to help you relax before starting your speech or presentation.
Before starting your speech, make sure you have a focal point in the room which will act to give you inspiration and will keep you motivated. There are times when you get distracted midway and you lose your focus, at this time the focal point may help you get back.
When you are giving a public speech, try not to look at the eyes of the people in the audience as it might put you off. Although you have to plan what you are about to say in the speech but never plan it word for word. Make it look natural by making your speech spontaneous touching the points you have listed and want to discuss.
You can even start your speech with a public joke in order to break the ice. Sometime back I gave a speech in the company where I worked. People in my office brought some presents and put to a collection and I had to say a few words to thanks them. I was aware of the fact that I have to give a speech, many weeks in advance, and that put me in quite a bit of stress.
I would also advise that when you are delivering a public speech always talk a bit slower than normal. I hope as it had helped me immensely over the years it will work the same way for you.
I hope after having read this article you will be able to deliver a quality public speech.
Get a standing ovation by presenting a lively speech
To bring a page of written context to spoken life, presentation techniques are essential. To inject interest in the audience and build up a rapport use your body language to animate your presentation. Here are a few techniques which you can follow to keep the audience’s glued to your speech:
1. As you are speaking to the audience, the way you speak is of significant importance and so are the words that you choose.
- Avoid using technical, bureaucratic and tough language. Instead of long phrases, use short and meaningful sentences.
- Be very specific. Prefer giving a specific day or time rather than saying “soon”.
- Try to use concrete words over abstract ones. For example, use the word “microphone” over “sound amplification facilities”
- Use simple language rather than Latinized words.
2. Instead of technical, use conversational English. Speaking the words from the prepared text sounds very robotic, artificial and stilted. On the other hand, the use of conversational English makes the speech sound natural and flowing. It also helps to build up a rapport with the audience. Conversational English differs from the written one very distinctly. In conversational English, grammatical and incorrect use of words can be ignored as long as the message has been clearly delivered. Use colloquial language.
3. Everything you say should make sense. There is a major difference in expressing the same sentence by writing and by speaking. A listener is solely dependent on the speaker to make him understand.
4. To make it more interesting, use the technique of labeling and signposting in your presentation. It enables to know what is coming up next and make them know what you really want them to understand from it.
- You can signpost the whole talk at the beginning itself by telling the audience what all are you going to discuss.
- You can even signpost the sub-points of the issue to be discussed.
- You can signpost the issue itself.
- Or you can signpost the end of your presentation.
5. You can use jokes as an amusing way to build a rapport with the audience. The shared laughter becomes a point of contact. But jokes need to be well-presented, appropriate and funny, as; if it works it brings you together but if it fails it pushes you apart. Have good comic timing and don’t forget the punch-line.
6. Pause to give an extra effect to your speech. But you need to know when it is appropriate to give a pause and let your message to sink in.
- You can pause to tease your audience after a provocative question.
- You can pause before you deliver the punch-line of your joke.
- You can add a pause to let your audience re-settle after a general discussion or laughter.
- You can pause to give your audience time to think about any question you might have asked.
- You can also use a slightly longer pause to show that you are in control.
7. Don’t just keep on telling the audience; add a touch to your presentation by converting a point into a narrative or a story so as to entertain your audience and involve them into it.
Mastering such simple techniques can raise your presentation expertise to great heights!. If you like this post please do share on social media.