At this point, it’s well documented that a huge number of people fear public speaking. Glossophobia is a common and upsetting condition that affects a multitude of talented, capable people. Unfortunately, speaking in public is something that is unavoidable for many individuals. Indeed, your career development might rest on your ability to give a presentation to a group of clients or investors. The good news is, it is possible to conquer anxiety surrounding a public speaking engagement. Here are four tips to that end that will prove effective –– regardless of the situation:
Practice Practice Practice
Very few people –– if any –– are able to roll out of bed and engage with a large audience without having prepared for the event at all. Often, some of the best public speakers are just as nervous as novices; the difference between the two groups is a matter of practice and experience. No, you don’t have to memorize everything you plan on saying during a speech or presentation. In fact, there are plenty of reasons to leave room for improvisation in a speech. However, it’s imperative that you review your talking points and practice what you’re going to say well in advance.
Make Eye Contact
Boring presentations are almost as inevitable as death and taxes. One trademark of a poor public speaker is a serial lack of eye contact. Looking away from your audience is a terrible habit. Instead of reading directly from your notes or from a powerpoint, look members of your audience in the eye. Doing so will capture their attention right away.
Provide Relevant Information
Sometimes, inexperienced public speakers get bogged down trying to tell a story or make a joke. And while it’s definitely a good idea to attempt to connect with your audience on an emotional level, in professional settings, it’s more important to impart meaningful data. The work you put in before your presentation is just as important as your performance during it. As such, take some time to develop quality market research questions and identify cogent stats that will enhance the content of your presentation.
False bravado will get you nowhere. Understandably, nervous professionals may try to adopt a different “persona” to use while giving a presentation. This isn’t a good idea. People can tell when you’re being genuine and when you’re putting on a front. Though many will advise professionals to relax or to break the ice with a joke, it’s much wiser to simply be yourself. It’s okay to be a bit nervous before and during a presentation. And it’s okay to stick to the facts. Remember, you don’t have to be a great orator to give an effective presentation that will benefit you and/or your small business. Just stick to what you know best and everything will work out in the end!