Speaking in front of a crowd is one of the most terrifying situations for many people. Few people are great at it. It can be difficult to captivate an audience while also trying to combat nerves. Almost everyone must do it at some point. Luckily, the more you do it, the easier it gets. Here are some tips for public speaking. These tips are proven to be effective in helping people become better public speakers.
Know Your Audience
Before writing out your speech or presentation, figure out who your audience is. Not everyone may appreciate your opening joke. To avoid the blank stares and crickets, learn more about who you are dealing with. This will help you craft a unique message specifically for them that they will enjoy and appreciate.
Prepare Every Detail
There is nothing worse than standing up in front of a crowd and not having a clue what you are going to say. Doing so leads to rambling no one cares about or jumping all over the place so no one can follow. Almost anyone can tell the difference between someone who has prepared and someone who is winging it. Preparing everything beforehand will help your speech have a better flow. It may even help you feel a little less nervous knowing not much can go wrong.
Practice Over and Over
Once everything is prepared, practice! Practice your speech in front of a mirror, a camera, your family, or even your pet. It doesn’t matter – just practice. The more you practice the more comfortable you will feel with your speech. The best speakers memorize their content and only need an outline.
Be Open to Feedback
Listen to feedback from anyone who listens to your speech and adapt. If no one thinks your opening joke is funny, get rid of it or find a better one. This is easier for people who routinely speak in front of an audience. For those who do not, get feedback from anyone you practice in front of.
No one wants to listen to a robot staring down at a paper. It makes every word feel impersonal. Make it a goal to look up from your script as much as possible or even the entire time. Include stories or humor in your speech. This helps the audience connect with you. Try smiling or using hand gestures. Showing any kind of personality will make your speech a little more interesting.
Things to Avoid
One of the biggest mistakes people make when speaking in front of a crowd is nervous ticks. This could include the words, “umm”, “like”, “so”, etc. The speaker may not notice them, but the audience does. They can become a distraction for the audience and can result in you losing their focus on your message. Be aware of what your nervous ticks are and be present enough to avoid them. Another thing to avoid is a boring opening. One of the most common openings is, “Today I’m going to speak about…” This is the quickest way to lose your audience. Instead, start with an interesting story or fact.
Do not feel overwhelmed or defeated by any of these tips for public speaking. It is known to be one of the most difficult tasks for many people and takes time to master. Just keep practicing eventually it will come naturally. Don’t forget to check out our article, “Preparing Your Voice for a Speech”, for more helpful tips. Our Clear Voice Spray also comes in handy for speakers, singers, and announcers who need to soothe a dry throat for performances.