Article By: Ravivarma Muniandy
Editor: Deena Yasmeen Abdul Ghaffar
Source: Google images
What is your biggest fear in life? Spiders? Height? Bedtime story monsters? Maybe even the Annabelle doll creepily staring at you in the middle of the night? I believe that everyone has at least one biggest fear. I guess you have never tried public speaking in your life before. Yes, public speaking can be a scarier experience to some people which might even cause some traumatic experience. “Are you kidding me? It’s just talking in front of people. How hard could that be?” I can hear your thoughts while reading this but before you click away, let me ask you to imagine this.
Imagine you are on a stage with a mic in your hand. You are standing under a spotlight and there are hundreds of eyes looking at you. Some with excitement and some with disappointment even before you start and you are asked to talk about anything that you want. What would be running through your mind right at that moment? It is probably nothing. Nothing will be in your mind. You will be standing like a puppet and you look at those eyes looking at you which is definitely scarier than a possessed doll looking at you.
Public speaking is a skill that can help you to go through the windows of opportunity in your life. Some are born with the gift but some are not. However, this is not some kind of magical power to be possessed only if you are gifted. This is a skill that can be developed with practice and dedication. Here are few tips on how to improve your public speaking skills.
First of all, understand that nervousness is normal and remember to practice and prepare! Everyone would have some nervous reaction like pounding hearts, trembling hands and weak knees. Do not try and fight it. It is alright to be nervous. Sometimes it helps you to be on track. The best way to overcome anxiety is to prepare, prepare, and prepare some more. Take the time to go over your notes several times. Once you have become comfortable with the material, practice a lot. Videotape yourself, or get a friend to critique your performance.
Secondly find a style that works for you. Different events will often require a different style or approach. Sometimes reading a prepared speech is fine. Some memorize it forwards and backwards so you are not staring down at the pages the whole time. Some use notes. Others prefer to be 100 per cent scripted and memorized. If that is your style, memorize the content so well that you can go off script if needed and so you do not sound like you are reciting a poem. Use the proper approach for the appropriate event.
The next tip is right before you speak, refocus your brain. You are the most nervous right before you speak. This is the moment where your brain is telling you, “Everyone is judging me. What if I fail?” It is exactly at this moment that you can refocus your brain. Remind yourself that you are here to help your audience. Be firm with your brain. Tell yourself, “You are here for a reason and that reason is to share your knowledge with your audience.”. Never question your abilities, trust yourself and break a leg.
The most important tip is to know your audience. It helps to know the background of your audience before you confront them. For example, speaking in English to those who have no knowledge in that language is just like throwing yourself into a pool of crocodiles. You must know the background of your audience in order to deliver your speech in an interesting and engaging way. This is really important because the moment you lose connection with your audience is the moment you fail.
The final tip is to smile. Yes, smile. Nobody wants to see a nervous-looking person on stage. Smiling can make you look confident and that energy will attract people’s attention to listen what you have to say. Smile at moderate level to create a good positive energy in order to attract your audience, but most importantly speak like a boss.