Even though I didn’t have a list of public speaking tips to help me prepare for such events, I now know how helpful it would have been if I had. With that in mind, I spoke with a few public speaking experts for their top tips for overcoming the fear of public speaking. Keep reading to add them to your repertoire.
Expert tips for public speaking
1. Know the audience in advance.
No matter what topic you’re talking about, it helps to know the people you’re talking to. “Before you speak, you need to have an idea of your audience’s knowledge level, expectations, and demographics,” says Daniel Mangena, speaker, best-selling author, broadcaster, and coach. “Not only will it make you feel more comfortable and at ease, but you’ll also be able to resonate and connect on a deeper level.”
2. It’s about the message, not you.
Rather than worrying about what the audience thinks of you, reframe your mindset to envision how they will feel about your message. “It can be very easy to get in your head and feel pressured when all eyes are on you,” says Christine Buzan, posing expert and TikTok star in confidence. “Instead of worrying about how you are perceived, focus first on the goal you are trying to achieve through your message. I’ve found that the most compelling speeches do one of three things: they entertain, inspire, or educate. With that in mind, Buzan says to think about your desired end goal, not the fear of judgment. “How do you want your audience to feel? What do you want them to do? What value do you want them to take away? she invites you to ask yourself the question before your next big speech. Focusing on the big picture and the purpose of your speech, she says self-doubt will fall by the wayside.
Hypnotist, holistic health coach and founder of SIVA Wellness, Sarah Donner, agrees with that. “Shift the focus from you to them,” she says.
3. Keep a plan.
An easy way to keep the focus on your audience, as opposed to yourself, is to keep an outline that details everything you want to share with them so they get the most out of the presentation. “Start with your main goal and come up with three to four stories or facts that articulate your goal,” Buzan says. But, whatever you do, don’t just keep your eyes glued to your outline. “It’s called public speaking, not public reading,” Buzan reminds us.
4. Connect with the organizer to identify their intent for the event.
Not sure where to start with your plan? Talk to the organizer of the event you’re speaking to for advice. “Depending on the organizer’s level of engagement with your speech, you’ll want to build a great rapport with them beforehand,” said Mangena, who is the author of Stepping Beyond Intention. “This will allow you to be aligned both with the main purpose of your speech and with the event as a whole. This can be evident when a speech is not authentic or seems disjointed, so it is imperative to set up values and calls to action.
5. Practice, practice, practice.
As with everything, practice makes perfect (or at least damn close). With that in mind, Donner suggests practicing your speech in front of your loved ones, especially those who are new to the field you’re speaking about. “They can let you know if you’ll make sense to everyone in the room, regardless of their prior knowledge,” she explains. “For example; If you’re the bridesmaid, we already know that you and the bride share a lot of jokes, but use this moment to share something that will affect all guests equally, no matter how close they are. with the couple.
6. Record yourself practicing.
Buzan recommends recording yourself while you practice. “I found it very helpful to do two taped passages,” she says. “I always tell people I work with to practice their poses in front of a mirror to get comfortable. It’s no different. Practicing in front of a mirror helps me look objectively at my body language and listen to my presentation.
7. Find your rhythm.
If you’re nervous about speaking to an audience, chances are you can subconsciously skim through your speech at such high speed that it’s hard to understand. Obviously, you don’t want that to happen. As such, Buzan advises studying other successful speakers to determine what you admire in their presentations and to ultimately emulate their pace and delivery. “Where do they stop? Do they emphasize specific words or parts of their message? Do they engage the audience or do they play on their cues? Try it when you work out,” she says.
8. Believe in what you say.
If your goal is to convince and/or inspire your audience, it’s important that you speak with passion. “When the audience sees that you’re passionate and confident in what you say, you’ll find that they’ll be more likely to listen to you and trust you,” Mangena says. “It should go without saying, but never give a speech about something you don’t believe in.”
9. Stay true to your personality.
Another thing you don’t want to do when speaking to an audience? Present yourself in an inauthentic way. “A public speaking act, especially when you’re toasting a group of people who know you, is not the time to try out a new personality,” Buzan says. “Sure, public speaking pushes you out of your comfort zone, but consider amplifying aspects of your personality even more so they set you apart. If you’re good at explaining things, lean into that. If you’re clumsy, let your inner class clown shine in. Think about maximizing your strengths rather than rearranging your personality.
10. Enjoy your space.
If you’re given a stage to present on, use it – don’t just stand there and talk. “Use your space and surroundings to your advantage to better connect with your audience,” Buzan says. “I talk about this a bit in my posing guides, but the same advice applies when speaking in public or posing for the camera. Don’t be afraid to engage with your surroundings in a reasonable way.
Be honest. You don’t have to know everything, even about the topics you’re talking about. “If you don’t know all the facts about a subject, be honest and acknowledge it,” Mangena says. “Audiences will appreciate that honesty and, in turn, trust you more.”
11. Consider hypnotherapy.
If all of these tips and tricks don’t do much to ease your fear of public speaking, Donner says hypnotherapy may be able to help. “The biggest misconception is that we are afraid of public speaking itself, when most of us are really afraid of making a mistake, not being good, smart or funny enough to be a leader in life. opinion or public speaking,” she says. “Most of these beliefs come from our childhood. We accept them as part of our personality and label them shyness or nervousness. Hypnotherapy is an incredible tool for getting to the root of these limiting beliefs, breaking them down and boosting your self-esteem.