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Do you need to speak in public and wondering how well you’ll do? Even the greatest of leaders have pondered over how to speak well in public. But why do fear so much when it comes to speaking in front of an audience?
Speaking in public means articulating your thoughts openly and exposing yourself to opposition and criticism. What if they totally disagree with what you say? What if they make fun of the way you speak or ridicule your ideas? What if you become a laughing stock? What if you embarrass your family members and close friends by being so stupid in front of so many people? Well you be ever able to recover from the ignominy?
All these fears are valid and at one time or another everybody who speaks in public suffers from them. How do you overcome these fears and speak well in public? Here are a few things you can do.
Focus on your message
When you are planning to speak in public don’t focus on yourself but your message. There is a reason you are going out there. You want to make an impact. It doesn’t matter what people are going to think about you because that’s not important. There is an idea brewing inside you and you want people to know about it. You have an opinion and if you let that opinion be known it’ll make a difference.
Be passionate about why you need to speak in public
Are you passionate enough about what you have to say? If you are not, you should rather abandon the idea of speaking. If you are planning to speak in public and if you want to do it well then you must know only those people succeed who are passionate about their opinion and ideology. The rest simply try to imitate and 99% among them fail. If you want to talk about the environment feel the anger at the destruction. If you want make a technology or sales presentation think about how convincingly it is growing to affect your bottom line.
Know 200% about your topic
Don’t prepare your speech half-heartedly. The more you know, the more you’ll feel confident. If you have to deliver 5 points about a topic, prepare 10 points. This way there will be no danger of forgetting something. The key to speaking well in public is know more than your audience (or pretending to know more than your audience).
Move around if possible
If there is no need to strictly stand behind the podium then move around in a relaxed manner. Moving around relaxes your mind and body and you are not constantly worried about 200-300 people perpetually looking at you. They’ll be slightly distracted by your movements and subconsciously it’ll give you more space to think and talk.
Talk in a conversational tone
Remember it’s the message and not the language the matters. People are not gathered to see how difficult and jargon-filled expressions you can throw around, they are gathered to listen to your opinion, your wisdom, what you have to say. Trying to sound pompous only makes you sound silly. Use the words you are comfortable with, words that you use in your day to day life.
Make it an enjoyable experience
Crack a joke, try to be humorous and use a funny anecdote people can relate to. Even if you expect some really serious people sitting amongst the audience, don’t worry. Although you should strictly avoid remark that may end up offending some people.
Look them in the eyes
It shows confident if you look people in the eyes. It conveys that whatever you are saying, you are saying it with conviction.
Address some people personally
If you know some people sitting in the audience address to them directly (avoid personal remarks). It establishes a rapport and sets a friendly tone. People know that not everybody sitting there is about to scrutinize you. Even people with a hostile attitude will get a message that you’ve got well-wishers in the audience.
It’s OK to make mistakes
In the end, the skies are not going to fall if you make some mistakes. There’s a reason why you are standing there delivering a speech and the rest are sitting in the darkness, with the spot line on you. It’s the brave one who ventures out and bears the brunt of the elements and myriad circumstances.
You can speak well in public if you can really empathize with the audience and shunning the thought that they are there only to humiliate you at the drop of a hat.