CHAMPION STRATEGIES – PUBLIC SPEAKING WORKSHOP – NOVEMBER 16, 2020
Let’s explore some more ways to overcome the fear of public speaking. First of all, get organized. Make sure all of the information that you’ll present is in place, including any audio or visual aids. If possible, visit the presenting venue beforehand and confirm how to set up and use any necessary equipment. When you are organized and have all your thoughts and materials in a row and ready to go ahead of time, you can mentally relax more as you needn’t have to worry about them during your actual presentation. Instead, you can focus your efforts better on the main task at hand…giving an impactful speech.
Second, don’t memorize what you’re going to be saying in your lesson or presentation word for word. Doing so just makes your anxiety increase as you then have to worry about slipping up. Instead, map it out in full in an outline, with all the main points, examples, and ideas. Then practice giving your speech using only your outline. While rehearsing, try not to be so rigid and instead let your ideas flow naturally when making the connection between points in your outline. That way, you will be able to deliver your speech as if you were talking to a friend. For the actual speech, condense your outline onto a small card to keep yourself on track.
Third, realize that your audience probably isn’t dissecting your speech along with your every word, thought, and non-verbal gesture as much as you may think. In fact, they are likely to be distracted by other interests (people in the audience, their cellular phones, daydreaming, etc.), especially if they are students. What your audience WILL remember is how you deliver your speech and the key points you make, much more so than the details.
Fourth, try taking the “it doesn’t matter” approach. When students make presentations, they have to worry about being judged on it and their performance affecting their overall grades. Thus, their anxiety often increases, which affects their delivery and performance. However, most of the time teachers are not being graded per se when teaching a class or leading a workshop at a conference with their peers, and so we can in theory relax more. Use this to your advantage and take on the mentality, “If I make a mistake or two, it just doesn’t matter.” This should hopefully relieve a lot of the pressure and stress that you have before giving your talk.
Fifth, practice your speech first in front of someone you feel very comfortable with, such as your best friend, significant other, or parent. Do so several times. Then, ask them to give you feedback, and to do so frankly but constructively.
Sixth, record your speech with a video camera and watch it to see what you can improve upon. The fewer things that you have to worry about during your actual presentation, the more relaxed you will be.
Finally, do some light exercise before giving your speech. Exercise gets your blood flowing and sends oxygen to your brain. Take a short walk or do some easy stretching. This should help to stimulate your body and mind, as well as to make you less stiff, both mentally and physically.
Keeping these points in mind and applying them will hopefully ease your inhibitions about speaking in public. Remember, public speaking is something that can be learned and improved upon—you needn’t be born a great orator in order to become one. “Practice, practice, practice” is the key. So don’t wait—join your local Toastmasters club or volunteer to present at your next professional conference or meeting. And if you make some mistakes, don’t worry about it. That is how you’ll learn to get better, eventually feel more comfortable and confident speaking in front of an audience, and in turn engage and inspire your students.
Make It A Champion Day!