Even the rich, famous and powerful can be afraid of public speaking. It doesn’t need to be a big crowd; the mere thought of speaking in public can be enough for many people to start quaking in their boots. However, like many skills there are several methods which can be utilized to overcome this fear and provide the best speech of your life; each and every time!
Everyone can benefit from improving their public speaking skills; it is an essential skill in many areas of life. Project managers in particular need to be able to present their ideas and the ongoing analysis of a project to many different groups. The following tips will enable anyone to improve their public speaking skills:
Use “the wall” to help you relax your voice
Before you enter the venue where you will be giving your speech you will find it very beneficial to find a quiet spot with a wall. Push the wall with both hands for approximately two minutes at shoulder height. Your focus will be on moving the wall and not the speech you are about to give. After a couple of minutes face the wall and say something out loud. You may be surprised at just how relaxed your voice is.
Exercise your tongue can help you speak loud and clearly
Follow the wall exercise by sticking your tongue out as far as you can. You then need to say the whole of a nursery rhyme out loud. It may be difficult to do but it will allow the back of your throat to open fully and this will help you to sound more confident when giving a speech. This needs to be done right before your speech as the effects of sticking your tongue out last approximately five minutes; enough time to make a confident start to your speech.
Take deep breaths to help you hold a fluent presentation
Nerves before a speech will often make your breathing and speaking faster. To avoid this you need to breathe in through your nose whilst counting to three and then out, through your nose, for a count of three. Repeat this exercise three times and you will have slowed your heart rate and your speech.
Squeezing can help you deal with nerves
Extreme nerves may mean your whole body shakes and you do not want your audience to see this. The best solution is to squeeze your buttocks or thighs together; this action will prevent your body from shaking.
Pausing should be used to gauge attention
Instead of launching into your speech the moment you are in front of everyone take a few seconds to simply smile at the audience and compose yourself. It will make you look extremely confident no matter how you may feel.
Have an attention-grabbing opening line
You must know what your opening line will be; this will avoid the nerves and get you rolling. Once you have started you will find the rest of the speech rolls along; particularly if you have taken the time to practices beforehand. It is usually best to open with a clear statement or a story.
It can sometimes be difficult to know what to do with your hands when speaking. They can seem to be everywhere and of little use. The best technique to avoid them waving manically in the air is to lightly hold them together and hold them in front of your stomach. This will make you appear open and relaxed and will help you to feel confident.
Be natural and your audience will like you
Speaking to an audience can make you want to use formal words and words that are not naturally used in conversations. This will not help your nerves or your audience. You wish to come across as a normal person so that they can relate to you. Use your normal voice and be yourself, this will instantly make you feel more confident and your audience will find your message easier to understand and follow.
At the end of your speech it can be extremely beneficial to come back to the idea or the story that you started with. The audience will receive closure and will know the speech is being wound up whilst being reminded of the key points.
By William Taylor and LondonSpeakerBureau.com!