Whether you’re speaking in front of a few of your colleagues, clients, or industry experts at a conference, public speaking is always a bit scary. Your palms sweat, voice shakes, and you can only imagine the worst: forgetting everything you’ve prepared. Although the common bit of nerves might happen at first, public speaking doesn’t have to be a frightening experience. In fact, it’s an important skill in the communications field that can take years to master. Here are Denterlein’s tips and exercises for mastering the art of public speaking.
Organize your ideas
Take the time to do your research and organize your notecards. The more you review, the better you’ll feel comfortable with the material. Planning your talking points in order can help the flow of the presentation and transform you into a confident public speaker.
Prepare and practice
Practice does not always make perfect. But being well-prepared with your materials and getting in the habit of speaking in front of an audience can release any anxiety that you might feel. Practice alone, in front of a mirror, or even with a friend to get familiar with talking out loud in a professional atmosphere.
Video Record yourself
With practice comes critique. Recording yourself can help identify your public speaking strengths and weaknesses. You may make great eye contact with your audience, but the pace of your speech might be a bit fast. This allows you to see and hear yourself from the audience’s perspective. Don’t be afraid to mark down what you need to work on, but also give yourself some credit where credit’s due!
Perfect your posture
Take into consideration your posture when public speaking; shoulders back, chest out, chin up, and top it off with a smile. Good posture opens your diaphragm so your audience in the back of the room can hear you, whether you’re sitting up tall in a chair or standing up on a stage. And it might even eliminate some of the shaky voice symptoms of stage fright.
Speak from talking points
While it may be important to have your notes or PowerPoint in front of you it’s also important to connect to your audience. When preparing and practicing, determine your main points and outline them—don’t read from them. A confident and well-prepared delivery from talking points will keep your planned presentation flowing and your audience engaged.
Breathe and relax—you’ll be a natural in no time.
As communicators, you would think that we’d be experts at public speaking. While it comes naturally to some communicators, it’s a work in progress for others. Focus on your breathing and remember everything you practiced. Soon you’ll be commanding the room with the energy and charisma of a confident public speaker.
By Alexa Zeoli, Account Coordinator