Do’s and Don’ts of Conquering the Public Speaking Fear
“They may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel.” – Carl W. Buechner
You might have come across various presentations where the presenters would have delivered the speech so effortlessly, compelling you to think – “Is speaking in front of the mass audience a child’s play?” Well, it’s not easy as pie! You will be able to deliver an impactful public speech and establish your credibility only if you know its power. You must understand that your words and the way you put them across have the potential to persuade, convince, and convert the listeners. Your presentation will be considered successful if your audience receives the information in the same manner you want to make them understand.
You can vanquish the fear of public speaking to a considerable extent by learning what you should do and what you should not do while delivering your speech. Take a look!
1. Do Pre-Presentation Preparations
A little preparation before the presentation can do wonders.
- Ensure that your PPT is compatible with the presentation platform of the computer that will be used in the meeting room/conference hall.
- Make sure that the room where you will be presenting has all the equipment you need.
- Email a copy of the PPT to yourself and keep its backup on the USB to quickly retrieve it in case of unexpected contingencies, such as technical issues.
- Know the venue and the number of the audience to whom you will be presenting.
- Choose your outfit in advance.
- Get the handouts, which you want to provide to the audience during the presentation, printed beforehand.
2. Make a Difference With Your First Sentence
The first impression matters. Make yours count by being creative and thoughtful while creating the first line of the presentation. It should grab the attention of the audience, inspire and intrigue them to listen to what comes next, and leave a lasting impact.
Instead of commencing with phrases like “My name is…” or “In today’s presentation, I will be talking to you about…,” you can choose any of the following opening strategies depending on the topic and context of your presentation.
- By revealing a shocking fact or statistic, but be wise while making such bold statements. Use them for adding weightage to your topic, not just for the sake of striking a bolt from the blue for the audience.
- Ask a rhetorical question to convert your audience into participants and keep them actively listening to you throughout the end.
- Add an element of mystery to ignite curiosity among the listeners.
Some Other Do’s:
- Do as much practice as you can.
- Encourage your audience to participate by making your presentation interactive.
- Channelize your “nervous energy” into an energetic talk.
- Organize your slides properly to avoid jumping back and forth through them.
- Personalize your content by adding a story, emotional appeal, or a dash of humor.
- Make your gestures and body language purposeful.
- Use the laser pointer to highlight important points.
- Be creative and use stunning visuals in your slides to captivate the audience’s attention.
- Make the closing memorable.
1. Don’t Read the Slides Word by Word
Instead of making the slides content-heavy and using them as notes for reading in front of the audience, leverage them as visual signposts to make your speech coherent and give your audience a clue of where you are heading with your talk. If you tend to read the slides, it will portray you as unprofessional, inconsiderate, and unprepared. So, grasp the subject, and the words will follow you.
- Replace the lengthy text with a few keywords and use them as prompts for your speech.
- Split the long paragraphs into bullet points, ensuring that each point has only a few words.
- Provide detailed information in handouts, not in slides.
2. Don’t Talk Too Fast or Too Slow
120-150 words per minute is the ideal speed for delivering the speech. If you talk too fast, you will end up leaving your audience in perplexity. On the other hand, if you talk too slow, your audience will stop paying attention to what you are saying. Similarly, some parts of your speech need you to speak softly while other parts require you to speak loudly. Thus, vary the tone of your voice to communicate effectively.
Some Other Don’ts:
- Don’t portray yourself as the hero in the story; represent yourself as the guide and audience as the lead characters.
- Don’t use “er,” “um,” “you know,” and other filler words and verbal tics while gathering your thoughts during the speech.
- Don’t try to impress your audience with jargon and overuse of animations.
- Don’t include peripheral topics that deviate you from the core message of your presentation.
- Avoid hiding yourself behind the podium to get rid of jitters.
- Don’t move the laser pointer on the entire screen as it will make the eyes of the audience jerk.
- Don’t be so hard on yourself, and put your best efforts.
Public speaking has become one of the crucial life skills. So, instead of freaking out, master this skill wholeheartedly. We wish you success in all your speaking endeavors, hoping the above tips will help you take your public speaking a notch higher.
Do you have more tips? Do share with us in the “Comment” section and share the blog post on LinkedIn and Facebook.