Picturing a room full of people naked? That’s old news. It also just might make you weirdly uncomfortable if your boss is sitting in the front row! However, the age-old advice is not without its more helpful counterparts–ideas that will actually help you get over your fear of public speaking and rock your next public performance. Whether you’re about to get on stage at a music team building event or simply have to give a presentation at work, be prepared to finally get past your fear of public speaking.
1 – Practice Makes Perfect – Perfect Public Speaking That Is
Yes, this one is obvious (we promise, they won’t all be so simple). But the truth is, practicing will really help you overcome your fears. Start by simply reading a script of key points so you can become comfortable with the flow of information. Eventually, move in front of a mirror so you can start to picture your facial expressions and body language the way it will come across. Finally, consider practicing in front of a camera or even a group of peers to get realistic feedback on your performance.
2 – Craft Your Presentation Into A Structure
Guess what? Patterns and structures make public speaking easier. When you craft your presentation, make sure to use a repeating pattern to setup your points and control the flow of information. This will help you feel comfortable as you move through your presentation and help you recall points as you build on layers.
3 – Work On Breathing And Speed
When you are nervous, you have a tendency to speed up your speech and, potentially, run out of breath. This is a clear sign that you are nervous, which tends to snowball into worsening speech patterns. It will ultimately lose your audience–so taking time to practice breathing and speech speed will go a long way in improving your delivery.
4 – Find A Sympathetic Audience Member (Or Five!)
Not everyone will connect in your audience–no matter how great you are. Some are simply tuned out or obsessed with their phone. But there will inevitably be some very engaged attendees–people who react to your jokes and respond to your major points. Make eye contact with those attendees and use them as opportunities to pause or interact with the audience. It will help ground you and keep you naturally engaged with the audience vibe.
5 – Pause, Reflect and Resume
Did you get off topic or lose your train of thought? Maybe you’re simply finding yourself speeding up in your speech and want to regain control. Create a process of pausing for a moment, reflecting on your point and then resuming your speech. Remember, you are a human being and not performing as a robot. Your accessibility will be part of your charm, meaning it is OK to take a moment and regroup.
6 – Laughter Is Key
Remember how you’re a human being? That extends to natural reactions too–and if you are so inclined, laughing at something or expressing a significant emotion will be to your advantage. Can you laugh at yourself? Even if you have a misstep, sometimes you can loosen yourself and your audience up simply be making a light joke. Don’t be afraid to be human.
7 – Be Proud No Matter What
Did you rock your last presentation? Maybe you did or maybe you stumbled your way through it a bit. Either way, be proud of yourself. With every experience you will get closer to becoming a pro public speaker, capable of delivering great presentations, getting up in front of crowds in a matter of moments and inspiring attendees to greatness. Remember, you did what so many others are still too afraid to do!