CHAMPION STRATEGIES – PUBLIC SPEAKING WORKSHOP – OCTOBER 25, 2021-1
Tips to Improve Your Public Speaking Skills
If the idea of delivering a speech to an audience makes your palms sweat, hopefully you can find some reassurance in the fact that you’re not the only one who has this reaction. Research indicates that one in five people experience public speaking anxiety, or PSA, making it one of the most common types of anxiety today.
Here’s the good news: other studies have found that, with the right strategies in place for fighting your fears, you can still perform well when you have a public speaking engagement or presentation of any sort. What are a few of these strategies?
When you’re nervous, your heart rate speeds up, you begin to sweat, and—if you’re not careful—you can easily work yourself into an anxiety attack. To help control all of these responses, take a few minutes before delivering your speech to close your eyes and take a couple of deep breaths. Calm your body so you can enter the stage (or speaking area) with a certain level of peace and not feeling all frenzied.
#2: Admit Your Nervousness
Even the most seasoned public speaker can feel nervous on stage. The harder you try to conceal this nervousness, the easier it will likely show through. Yet, admitting that speaking makes you anxious can actually help put both you and your audience at ease. You feel a sense of relief because now the information is out there, giving you the ability to address your anxiety and move on.
#3: Use (Minimal) Notes
If public speaking makes you anxious, there can be a tendency to write your speech out word for word so you can look at it if you forget your next statement. However, if you’ve ever watched a speaker read from their notes the entire time they are on stage, you know that this isn’t effective. You will lose your audience. Instead, keep your notes to a minimum, using only one- or two-word prompts for each point you want to make. This will help you keep your place without detracting from your audience.
#4: Become Comfortable with “The Pause”
One of the biggest distractions as an audience member is a speaker who constantly says “uh” or “um.” These fillers are typically used as a way to say something, anything, while you’re thinking of your next point. But some of the best speakers know that “the pause” is not something to avoid. A well-timed break in speaking can even be used to help strengthen a point, letting it sit with the audience before moving on to the next topic. Become more comfortable with this pause and you will become a better public speaker.