Basics of Public Speaking – How to Overcome the Fear

Speaking in public can be the worst experience for many if they go unprepared for what they have to accomplish. There are several ways to decrease this fear. The first and most important is being prepared and researching your topic as much as possible. Know yourself as well, you know what you have a good grasp on and what you do not. Emphasize areas you understand more than those you do not. By having a good understanding of your topic you can build your confidence level for when it comes time to get in front of other people.

Since speeches are given to audiences you should be very aware of who they will be. Having a grasp on their level of understanding and needs is very important to getting the response you are looking for. Knowing who your audience may also help you to adapt to their needs and understand speech to a group of engineers should be different than a speech given to the marketing department. You must adapt to your audience to get the correct response from those you are speaking to.

Knowing the situation for which you are speaking is also important. You should be aware of how big the engagement will be, if you will be on stage or sitting right in front of your audience. If there is going to be a very large audience you may require the aid of audio and visual enhancements. A teleprompter may be required if you do not have a podium to stand behind. I there is a podium make sure your audience has an unobstructed view of you face, because facial expressions can be a big help with connecting to your audience.

Aim for a response from the people you are speaking to. They came to the event to listen to you as well as give their opinions. Setting time at the end of your speech or even during your speech should be well planned however. Most engagements have set time-frames that people will adhere to, so you must try not to let the audience control your timeline. Just keep in mind that the goal of your speech is to get a specific response from the audience, so stay on topic while addressing questions.

Your research must be relevant to the topic. If you’re giving a speech about genetics you may want to leave out the part about your Aunt Flow who has two miniature poodles. While their genetics may be relative to you, others may not understand. While putting together your information make sure it is pertinent and accurate. You may want to use multiple resources on your chosen topic and even speak with other experts on the subject. If you are simply giving speeches at a wedding just ask someone who has already done a speech to give you advice some advice. While developing your research you must come to your event with a reasonable argument that follows and supports your research. You should look for information that reaches the audiences emotions, needs and feelings. Try to be logical with any information so that your audience can connect with your subject matter. The main point you should ask yourself is, “would I believe and understand this”?

Creating a solid structure for you speech will also help you to deliver information in a sequence that makes sense to everyone. You must lead the audience with your ideas and message. A well structured speech will give it good coherence, without it your ideas may not be understood. Use smooth transitions from one idea to the next and summarize each idea as you move into another. This technique will help the audience create mental notes that will allow them to follow your message.

For a good clear cut delivery you must speak directly to your audience. Eye contact and clear emotional facial expressions can help you connect faster to your audience than looking at the floor or fighting with your shirt while you speak. There are so many different ways to give a speech that you should make sure to follow earlier steps and know your audience and yourself before you start. Some different types of speeches are impromptu speaking in which you are put on the spot. A memorized speech is one that you practice over and over until you know it by heart. Then there is a manual speech in which you read to your audience. All of these are to be considered when getting to know your subject and your audience.

For the best results you should practice your speaking techniques with friends and family and be prepared for some criticism. Taking criticism while practicing can help you get past your own image of how you are doing. You may think you’re doing terrible and yet when you speak in front of your class they sit quietly in awe at how well you executed your well practiced speech. This is part of you knowing yourself. You can get a greater understanding of yourself through the eyes of others. So practice as much as possible and don’t be afraid of criticism, this is the best way to know yourself and give you the power to change the areas you need more practice at.

You will almost always have a fear of public humiliation while speaking but you must face your fear and have the confidence in knowing that you are prepared to give an excellent speech and your research will help you out when you need it.

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