Have you ever wanted to get up on stage and give a presentation or talk like the ones you see on TED? Public speaking does not come naturally for all, but with planning and practice, anyone can be an interesting, engaging speaker. One of the main benefits of being a speaker is that it will build a great deal of confidence.
Here are some guidelines to keep the jitters at bay when addressing a sea of faces.
Public Speaking for First-Timers
According to the website Keynote Speakers,The best way to ensure confidence and to overcome public speaking fears is to know one’s material. Audience members, whether they’re scholars, students or colleagues will immediately pick up on the speaker’s energy if he/she has not prepared for the lecture.
The speaker should know his/her material and provide notes for the audience members to follow. Know the content inside-out to ensure that when a question is asked, one does not forget one’s train of thought. Keeping flashcards in hand is a helpful tool to refer back to content.
Audience members will engage well with someone who is passionate about his/her subject, so let that knowledge and passion of the subject simmer through, without being overbearing.
“Also do not underestimate the power of visual aids, it will keep the audience interested and serve as a reminder later of what was discussed in the lecture” reports John Rogan from the online magazine Motivational Speakers. Hand out notes or presentations at the start of the lecture, so audience members can easily follow the speaker’s train of thought. An informative as well as an entertaining lecture, is a memorable one.
How to Engage an Audience
Engage the audience by asking questions and allowing feedback, it will make for a livelier discussion. By asking the right questions at the right time, a speaker will keep the audience interested. Keep it interactive by allowing members to comment or on each other’s answers. Using real-life examples is a helpful tool to peaking their interest, as it is more than likely something they will be able to relate to, and subsequently give their own insights voluntarily.
A speaker can capture an audience by projecting his/her voice correctly and talking as naturally as possible. Take deep breaths between sentences, look audience members in the eye and talk conversationally.
9 Tips for Beginning Public Speakers
- Prepare material well in advance and know the subject matter inside-out.
- Test computers, microphones and other equipment beforehand to ensure that there will be no technical glitches once one gets started.
- Drink water before the session, but not too much, and have water available throughout the session.
- Do some warming-up exercises by talking through the lecture out loud. Rehearsing in front of a spouse, partner, friend or family member can also help one to be more prepared.
- Walk through the space where the session is going to take place beforehand, to get comfortable.
- Greet people as they enter the room, a smile goes a long way.
- Remember to introduce oneself at the start of the session.
- Dress appropriately and comfortably, fidgeting will distract the audience.
- If one doesn’t know the answer to a question, do not panic, be honest or encourage the questioner to find the answer him/herself.
Practice makes perfect and even more so with public speaking. The more one has to address an audience, the more comfortable it will become. By following the above guidelines and practicing the art of public speaking, anyone can overcome their fear and become a successful public speaker.