If you’ve ever felt nervous about speaking in public, there are ways to get over that anxiety. The first step is to accept that there will always be an element of uncertainty in your performance — and that’s okay. By expecting yourself to be imperfect, you will find it easier to connect with your audience and feel more confident about sharing your ideas.
Preparation is essential to a successful presentation. If you don’t know your audience and what you want to say, how can you expect to make a good impression?
Here are some tips for preparing:
- Know your audience. Do some research on them in advance so that you can tailor your speech accordingly. For example, if the majority of people attending the event are from China, then it would make sense for your presentation to contain more information about Chinese culture than if they were all from Germany.
- Know how long you have to deliver your talk and plan accordingly. Don’t try cramming too much into an over-long speech or leave out important points because there isn’t enough time!
- Know how you want to say something instead of just writing down bullet points or making notes on index cards before rehearsing them aloud (this may help with nerves but won’t lead anywhere).
2. Practice in front of a mirror.
Practice in front of a mirror.
Practice in front of a friend.
Practice in front of a group.
Practice with a video camera recording your performance so you can watch yourself and make adjustments as needed.
3. Tell stories.
- Tell stories. Stories are a powerful and effective way to engage your audience and demonstrate your expertise, making them ideal for public speaking. They also help you make yourself more relatable, which can help you connect with people in the audience who may not be familiar with what you do or why it’s important. Finally, a story allows you to demonstrate that you’ve learned from past experiences—and thus that this is a skill that can be taught and learned by others as well!
4. Be authentic.
As you prepare to speak, be sure to be yourself. Be authentic, honest, and vulnerable—share your story. Share your experience; don’t just give them information! If you have something relevant to say about a topic then share it. Your audience wants to hear from people who are invested in their success and willing to share hard-earned wisdom that can help them achieve their goals.
5. Focus on your breathing.
There are a few breathing exercises that can help you focus and relax, calm down and reduce anxiety, improve your concentration and reduce stress. One such exercise involves counting your breaths as you inhale and exhale in a four-count cycle: one inhalation followed by three exhalations. Practicing this technique will help you slow down your breathing rate to a more controlled pace. There are also other methods that focus on long deep breaths throughout the entire body, but this is one of the easiest ones to practice without much thought or effort.
6. Focus on connecting, not on perfection.
Perfectionism is the enemy of confidence. Perfectionists tend to focus on themselves and their performance, rather than on the audience. They can’t help but worry about mistakes or what other people think of them, which creates anxiety and makes them self-conscious. If you want to be a confident public speaker, you need to focus on connecting with your audience instead of worrying about yourself.
The best way to do this is by keeping your attention focused on what they’re saying and doing instead of focusing on yourself. You don’t want to get so wrapped up in thinking about how great the speech was that no one else enjoyed it! Instead, try practicing with friends who will give honest feedback about how well-received it was for them (and ask for feedback afterwards).
7. Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable.
It’s natural to be nervous about speaking in public, but it’s important to remember that being vulnerable is one of the best ways to connect with your audience. By showing them that you’re human and not perfect, you can build trust and make a deeper connection with them. It will also help them relate to you on a more personal level.
If you are going to share something personal or vulnerable when presenting, it is easier if you have practiced beforehand. Remember that being prepared will make it easier for you to relax into your speech rather than feeling as if every word has been memorized or rehearsed over and over again until they feel like they might come out wrong at any moment!
8. Don’t memorize everything you have to say.
Memorizing your entire speech is like trying to memorize an entire novel. You can’t do it, so don’t even try. The more you try to memorize your speech, the more nervous and anxious you’ll become.
The problem with trying to memorize everything is that there will always be something in your mind that is nagging at you—you haven’t said “this” yet or “that” isn’t perfect yet! You’ll worry about getting it right instead of just speaking from the heart. If there are interruptions or if someone asks a question during the Q&A session, don’t panic; just respond from memory rather than worrying about what comes next on your podium page!
9. Avoid filler language like “um”, “like”, and “so”.
- Filler language is a form of procrastination. When we use filler language, we are often trying to buy ourselves some time to think about what we want to say next. This is normal, but if it happens too much and for too long, it will become distracting for your audience. If you find yourself using lots of filler words when speaking in front of an audience, try to make sure that these moments are brief and infrequent as possible.
- Avoid using filler language if you are nervous or feeling unprepared. The more comfortable you get with public speaking the more likely it becomes that you will be able to speak without getting distracted by thoughts like “What do I say next?” In addition, the more experiences that you have talking publicly at events such as this one, the easier it gets for your subconscious mind!
If you can be comfortable with your own imperfections, you’ll find that public speaking becomes much easier. By expecting yourself to be imperfect, you will find it easier to connect with your audience and feel more confident. It’s not about perfection; it’s about authenticity. So try out some of these tips for yourself and see how much more confident you feel when speaking in front of others!