Banishing the Fear on Making a Speech
This article describes tips and techniques on overcoming nervousness when presenting to a live audience. Never feel those nerves again...
Copyright (c) 2007 The College Of Public Speaking
Time to celebrate - you have secured that promotion.
The joy you feel is quickly dampened by the realization that your new role includes presenting on a regular basis to senior management of your company and you are scared stiff!
What do you do?
Perhaps you enroll on a presentation skills course and whilst on that course you feel your nerves ebb away with each presentation that you give and each piece of feedback that you receive. One month later you are to give your first presentation at work and the nerves just flood back as though the training course meant nothing.
There are many simple ways to avoid this dreaded possibility and most of them are very straightforward.
Firstly ensure that you have researched your topic as well as your audience. A detailed knowledge of the subject matter where you know that you can answer any possible question will increase your confidence immeasurably.
TIP 1: All presenters naturally feel more at ease answering a question (assuming they know the answer) than they do presenting, so, if possible, get a plant in the audience to ask you an agreed question early on in the presentation; any nerves will simply vanish!
Knowing your audience will allow you to structure your presentation in a way which will hold their interest; seeing the audience interested in what you are saying will provide a great boost to your confidence.
Secondly, ask your work colleagues to listen to your presentation and give you their thoughts on what works and what doesn't. Having already done the presentation is a guaranteed way to feel more at ease on the day.
Thirdly, do not worry about making a mistake. Making a humorous quip about your error will cause your audience to laugh and help build a rapport with them.
TIP 2: Make a deliberate error in the first few minutes and follow-up with a well rehearsed spontaneous quip. The tension between you and the audience melts away as rapidly as ice in the desert. You could say perhaps "I fully expect sales to exceed £3,000 this month" (when you and the audience are expecting a figure of around £300,000), hesitate briefly, say, "oh well I'd better cancel the family holiday to Australia that I'd planned with my bonus this year!" Then follow up with "of course I meant £300,000".
Fourthly, break the ice by meeting a few people from your audience before you speak; you will find that connection through eye contact with those people will help you enormously to feel at ease.
Finally, deep breathing does actually help to relieve tense muscles, a quaking voice and queasy stomach. It also helps to sit in a chair, contract and relax your arm muscles. You can feel a big difference after you have done this, but if you find yourself becoming tense again, simply repeat or try it with other muscles especially neck muscles. Always have some water handy to prevent your mouth from becoming dry.
Try these tips and you will soon see that your confidence will rapidly increase. Also make sure that you do as many presentations as you can; the more practice that you get at this the easier it becomes. And the very best of luck!
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
The College of Public Speaking offers first class developmental opportunities by hiring excellent speakers with relevant business experience, and more importantly they maintain their high level of skills by engaging in regular open speaking events. Visit us at => http://www.collegeofpublicspeaking.co.uk