6 Ways You Can Become the Public Speaker of Your Dreams
When I was 18, my then professor asked our small class of economics students to come up with a 20 minute presentation on a country of our choice and explain the history of their economies and how they reached their current economic atmosphere. “20 minutes, really?” is all we could muster when we were informed of this monster assignment. The problem wasn’t preparing the presentation, everyone is capable of that! The problem was the public speaking…for 20 minutes. Like many people, 75% to be precise, I too suffer from anxiety when public speaking. The good news, however, was I could work on preparing myself for this mammoth of a presentation and I did, using these tips!
Know your content
No, I do not mean memorizing each and every word of your speech but you should know your key points well enough so that they are very familiar and firm in your mind. When you get on that stage or podium and get nervous, really knowing what you are speaking about will help calm your nerves. Even if you’re speaking on topics you’re familiar with, always do a couple of run-throughs- feel free to improvise your speech and adjust accordingly but the few key points you wanted to speak about should always be on the forefront of your mind.
Go without a mask
If you’re a funny person, be funny while speaking; if you’re passionate, exuberate that passion during your speech. Focus on delivering the content in a way that you want, think of yourself as a medium of sharing ideas and experiences to help others instead of putting on a performance. Take that mask off and let yourself shine!
Practice, practice, practice.
Cliché indeed, but there is no other way around it, the more you practice, the better you get and speaking is no different. The good thing about practice however, is that it does not have to be the same old mundane way of ‘practicing with a friend’. Feel free to mix your practice sessions up, there are traditional ways like videoing yourself or you could join a meet-up group of professionals who specialize in public speaking and want to give out tips to improve others struggling with these issues. Alternatively you can also volunteer to speak at meetings at work. At the end of the day, nothing beats practice.
Head over to TED Talks
What better way to practice speaking than heading over to the website which has a collection of people speaking about various subjects? Looking at and listening to the various amount of people and the way they deliver their speeches may spark up ideas that you may have never thought of including in your talk and is a great way to improve your speaking prowess.
Take a training course
If you’ve got a little bit of cash to spend, why not take a training course taught to you by a professional public speaker? This one by Bangkok School of Management is a specialized 2-day training program that not only trains you with your current speech but also prepares you on how to write a good speech and delivering it in methods which are easy to hear aurally.
Prepare for mistakes
I understand the last thing you want to happen at your speech is getting confused and making a mistake, followed by a mumbling of words and stammering out your next couple of sentences in hopes of making yourself and the audience quickly forget what happened 30 seconds ago. The truth is, mistakes will happen and the best you can do is be prepared for them. A method which works for me is preparing back-up lines in case I make a mistake. There was once where I accidentally skipped 1 of my most major points in a speech and went on to conclude the talk before I caught on because I had prepared for a mistake (although not of this magnitude) I said, “but wait, there’s more!”, before delivering my point and going on to conclude, everyone laughed and it was a good way to end my speech on a light-hearted note.
I am 22 now, and over the years I’ve spoken at various schools, and participated in many inter-university case study competitions, I was also part of the debate club at my university so I’ve given my fair share of speeches and realized that as you begin to love speaking in public, these problems that seemed so monumental at the start of your ‘speaking career’ were not huge issues at all, and speaking will come naturally. Oh, and in-case you’re wondering I scored an A grade in my 20 minute presentation.