Thursday, August 11 2022

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I started my speaking career as a nervous introvert with no previous experience. My first live presentation was on a Disney cruise ship in a theater that seats 800 guests (and a panicked presenter). I vividly remember trying to convince other crew members to push me down the stairs because I was sure if I had a broken leg or a twisted ankle they couldn’t. force it to do so. Looking back, I can see how silly that was.

They certainly would have made me do it anyway.

Honestly, I remember very little about that first presentation. I have the impression of having blocked all the memory. But I remember the overwhelming fear before I started to speak and the intense relief when I was done. Obviously, public speaking was not a natural talent for me.

This is why you can be sure that when I say that you can overcome your fear and become not only a competent speaker but a great speaker no matter who you are, it is absolutely true. If I can do it, you can certainly do it.

There are a few tips and techniques that I’ve learned over the years that have made the whole process easier and less stressful, which you can use to make public speaking an (almost) enjoyable experience.

Related: 10 Tips To Overcome Your Fear Of Public Speaking

They say knowledge is power, but I would say knowledge is confidence. Here is what you need to know.

1. Know your material

The biggest barrier to fear for most people is that they forget what they were supposed to say. So write it down, practice, rewrite it bullet, practice, rewrite it in even shorter form, practice and repeat. You want to continue until you have only two or three words, per bullet, that will walk you through your presentation.

2. Know your location

The unknown is scary. The more you know, the better prepared you will feel. Find out as much as possible about the venue before the conference date. Look at the photos of the room, see if there are steps up to the stage or a podium for your notes. It helps you prepare and eliminate some of that anxiety.

3. Know who will introduce you and how

There is nothing that will make you lose your game faster than having to take the stage after someone gives the wrong information about you or what you are going to talk about. It can derail your entire presentation and your confidence. So be sure to clarify who will introduce you and give the person specific notes on how to present what you are talking about and any details to share about yourself, including how to pronounce your name, if it is. difficult.

4. Know your audience

This is essential for delivering an excellent presentation. Even though the material you share is basically the same every time, knowing who you are talking to allows you to add details to help you connect with them and remove any information or reference that might not be appropriate for that. particular group. It also helps you build a relationship with the crowd, which gives you energy and keeps your performance on point.

5. Visualize your performance

Elite athletes visualize their race or event from start to finish, hundreds of times before a competition. Going through the entire routine or event helps them build their confidence, anticipate possible problems, and convince their minds that when they enter real competition, victory is almost guaranteed. After all, as far as their brains know, they’ve done it a thousand times before. The same goes for you and your presentation. Imagine taking the stage, arranging your notes, picking up the microphone and thanking the host and audience for their warm welcome. Imagine each step from start to finish. Visualize the receptive audience, the applause and confidence you will have when addressing the smiling crowd.

Related: How to Polish Your Public Speaking

6. Time it

Make sure you know exactly how long your presentation will last. Speakers usually have a specific amount of time allotted, and being a little short is usually not a problem, but you don’t want to go halfway through your presentation only to find your time is almost up. This leaves you either ending awkwardly without going through the full arc of your story, or quickly trying to figure out how to wrap up the last half of your presentation in the time that you have left. So do everyone a favor, grab a timer and get up and say it out loud, like you’re really giving a presentation to an audience. We speak much slower than we read, so if you time yourself to read it without saying it out loud, it will be much shorter than the live presentation.

7. Find a friendly face

This trick has always been my secret weapon. I got to my presentations 15 minutes early so I could go down to the stage and chat with some of the guests sitting there. The idea is to create a connection and create a few crazy fans in the front row so that when you take the stage and the nerves hit you, you have a few groups of people to focus on who are smiling and cheering you on. It boosts your self-confidence and helps you eliminate the rest of the crowd if you get overwhelmed.

8. Whatever happens, it’s over in X minutes

It’s the other secret weapon for when the going goes wrong. Just keep going, keep going, and whatever happens, at the end of your time period, it’s done. It’s finish. You could just sit there and say nothing for 15 minutes (not what I recommend), but at the end of the 15 minutes that would be over. I have used this strategy more times than I would like to admit, especially at the beginning.

9. Remember that no one has probably noticed this slip of the tongue, but you

you know the material the order in which you are supposed to present it and the word you wanted to use at the time but not the public. So keep going; stop thinking about this error. If you keep thinking about this mistake, you will be distracted and make more mistakes the further you go in the conversation. Let it go and move on.

10. Register

This is probably going to be difficult to watch, and I promise you it will never be easier, for most of us. But it’s incredibly useful for improving your performance. We all have verbal tics that we don’t even realize we have, like uhs and ahs or other filler words that we use repeatedly. We also have gestures, movements and physical tics that will distract your audience. The best way to catch and correct your unique verbal and physical tics is to record yourself presenting and then look back to see what you can catch and improve. It will also help you correct parts of your presentation that might not be clear or go wrong. Looking at yourself, as your audience will observe, is one of the best ways to improve both your presentation skills and your material.

Perhaps the most important tip of all is to start doing it. The best way to improve in public speaking is by gaining experience and speaking in front of people. So, take opportunities whenever they arise and push yourself beyond what’s comfortable in order to develop your skills.

This is your chance to share your stories and expand your audience by mastering a skill that many people won’t even try. The more you do, the better you will become, so prepare your story and then go out and practice.

You already have everything you need to become a compelling speaker, so get started today. Make a plan to start preparing for your first presentation. The world needs what you have to share, and no one can tell your stories like you.

Related: Why Introverts Can Be The Best Public Speakers


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