Are you one among those whose hands quiver as they adjust the microphone and legs wobble as they approach the podium? Does the thought of addressing a large audience make your palm sweat and heart pound fast? If so, it’s the indication that you have a fear of public speaking.
As a small business owner, there will be times when you have to get up in front of a large number of audience for varied reasons – to make people aware about your services, to pitch some investors, to promote a brand, to build relationships with communities, to raise working capital, and so on. So, it’s high time to cope up with your stage fear and hone your public speaking skills. By mastering the art of public speaking, you will not only establish yourself as a thought leader, but will also open yourself for the growth opportunities that you were missing.
So, calm your nerves, jump on the bandwagon, and capture the hearts of your audience with the following public speaking tips.
Tips to Convert Your Public Speaking Jitters into Unwavering Confidence
Know Your Audience
It’s important to put yourself in your audience’s shoes to deliver the content that they are actually looking for. The more you will learn about your listeners, the more engaging message you will be able to craft.
- Know the demographic and needs of your audience.
- What challenges are they facing, and what they intend to learn from your presentation?
- What is their level of knowledge?
While delivering the speech, keep an eye on the reactions of your audience. It will give you a clue of whether they are getting you or not. You can adjust your message accordingly to make them feel connected and keep them hooked.
Include a Story
A well-crafted message that includes a relevant story resonates with your audience and has a hypnotic effect. Moreover, by adding the right personal story, you can win the trust of your audience and make the repetitive concepts or mundane reports more effective. Here, the important points to note are; the story must be drawn from your personal experiences, and it must have an inspiring theme that prompts the audience to take some action.
Crafting good content won’t suffice the purpose until and unless you don’t have the skills to present it rightly and effectively. Practice makes perfect – the saying goes well with almost all aspects of life, and public speaking is not an exception.
Do rehearsals in front of a random group of strangers, co-workers, family members, or a group of friends. Solicit feedback after the rehearsal and work around those feedbacks. The audio and video recording of yourself speaking will help you identify areas of improvement. Practice until you deliver your speech effortlessly.
Pay Heed to Your Body Language
Along with words, your tone and body language also matter a lot when you communicate. Your movements, gestures, and facial expressions convey what’s going on in your mind. Any wrong vibes from your end may push your audience away. Thus, pay attention to your body language while speaking in public.
- Don’t cross your arms or clench your hands, instead keep them relaxed.
- Avoid putting your hands in your pockets.
- Make proper eye contact (do not scan or stare) with your audience to make them feel included.
- Learn to control the tone of your voice.
Take a Pause
While speaking, your mind is racing and you want to deliver whatever is going on in your mind really fast. But, by doing so, you may lose the interest of your audience as they won’t be able to comprehend what you said. Thus, you must include 5-8 seconds pause just before a key statement or after a story, to give the audience some time to absorb the information, think through, and reconnect.
Add a Dash of Humor and Emotion
Your audience may not remember everything you delivered, but they will definitely remember how you made them feel. So, it is crucial to spice up and add a personal touch to your presentation. You can make your audience relaxed and more receptive to what you are saying by injecting an anecdote of emotion and humor into your speech.
The Bottom Line
No matter how brilliant ideas you have in your mind, you can bring them to life only by using the power of words. You can’t even sell your best services and products without communicating with the target audience. All these accentuate the importance of public speaking, particularly in the competitive business environment.
Fortunately, some people are born with great speaking skills. But, the other side of the coin is that some great speakers are not born; they are made. Public speaking is not rocket science; it can be learned. With the right mix of practice, preparation, and persistence, you can ace this skill.