I am one person who tends to be very much in need of tips for public speaking - put me in a situation where I have to speak, or, heaven forbid, present something, it's only a matter of time before there's extreme blushing, tripping over words and even a little bit of sweating (sorry). Aha! But that's why I've researched this post on tips for public speaking - great orators, here I come.
One of the best tips for public speaking, for me at least, is to prepare - it's one thing that will calm me down. Okay, so you don't necessarily want to go for the whole eyes down, monotone reading-type affair if you can help it - but knowing your subject, preparing answers and what you're going to say in advance will give you more confidence. For me, it's like a safety net, even if I end up improvising.
2. Cool, Calm and Collected
If you're nervous about speaking, how often do you find yourself rushing through everything you want to say, just to get it over with? I do, and I normally speak too quietly as well. It may be hard, but try to speak up and talk at a nice, slow pace. Whoever is listening would like to actually be able to hear you, and it'll give you a chance to catch up in your mind too.
3. Don't Put Yourself down
This is the one way to guarantee potential disaster. What you have to say is just as relevant and just as worthwhile as what anyone else has to say - but you need to believe that too, or how are you going to convince anyone else?
If you have to do a presentation, for school or work etc, rope in a couple of people you trust and practice, practice, practice! They'll give you their honest opinion and some trial runs will make the real thing seem less daunting.
5. Think about Your Audience
After all, they actually aren't thinking about you; they're thinking about your message, because that's what matters - not any small mess ups on your part that no one else even really noticed. Think of your audience in a positive way - they want to listen, they're genuinely interested and they want you to do well!
I realise I may be saying this in vain, because it really is difficult, but try, try, try to relax! I always notice when someone speaking is feeling nervous, because it’s so easy to read their body language. Go into your protective bubble, or be like Sasha Fierce, and paint on a smile. When I pretend I'm feeling confident on the outside, I actually end up feeling more confident on the inside too.
7. C'est La Vie
Another thing that calms me down when I'm nervous is to think 'in the long-run, does this really matter?' You may hate public speaking, but it's probably tops, fifteen minutes of your life, then it's over. Plus, you're going to be far more critical of yourself than anyone else will be. If you mess up, so what? Everyone makes mistakes, and as long as it wasn't because you didn't put the work in, people will recognise that.
I am most definitely going to be following these tips, and I hope they've helped you in some way too - because, trust me, I am all too aware of how horrible it is feeling like you're going to sound stupid no matter what you say! Do you have any other tips for me?