Public speaking, for some, can be a liberating experience while for others it can be the most nervous moment in their entire life. Giving a presentation or a lecture in front of a large group of people can be intimidating, but with the right mindset and practice, it can go smoothly. Giving a solid oral presentation comes down to a combination of confidence, communication, and preparation.
- What is Your Motive?
Before getting overwhelmed by the number of people in the room or the thought of messing up, start with asking yourself why you are standing up there in the first place. Are you trying to inform, inspire, or call to action? Know what you want your audience to walk away with because if they don’t walk away with more knowledge or do anything different, the value of your speech is zero.
- Who is your Audience?
A strong understanding of who will be receiving your message will make all the difference. A speech for 20-year-olds will be completely different than a speech for 50-year-olds. Take a step back and think how you are going to communicate effectively to those who will be sitting and listening and use that to your advantage
- Are You Talking too Fast? You Are.
One of the textbook mistakes of public speaking is letting your nerves ram through your speech with ultimate speed. You may not even realize how fast you are actually going until it is over. It may seem unnatural but speak unusually slow, especially if you are in a large room. Many times a microphone can distort or delay your voice to how the crowd is receiving it.
- The Power of Practice
Your jaw, lips, and face have various micro-muscles throughout – and muscle memory can come into play in a speech. The more you practice, the more your muscles will feel familiar with the words and you will be more able to emotionally connect with what you are saying, not how you are saying it.
The worst speeches are ones that are not enjoyed by the speaker. If you are prepared, there is no reason to be nervous. Everyone in the audience wants you to do well and wants to learn from you. Smile, relax and communicate what you need to communicate in the most approachable and efficient way possible.