How to be the Best Public Speaker you can be?

public speaking
Public Speaking. Do these words fill you with dread? If so, you definitely are not alone. Public speaking is actually ranked as the number one fear help by Americans, beating out dying. Statistically, most people at a funeral would rather be the one in the casket than the one delivering the eulogy! Public speaking is not nearly as scary as we have built it up to be. What we will address today at the causes of this anxiety as well as how to not only overcome your fear, but blow past all expectations.

Glossophobia, or the fear of public speaking, comes from the Greek words for tongue and dread. But why, in a culture that so values the spoken word, should be fear our tongues and what they can do? The answer is quite simple. It is not the actual act of public speaking that we fear, but the judgment from the audience to whom we speak. Once we have identified the root cause of our discomfort with public speaking, we are able to address it and move past it.

So how do we deal with this fear? It is actually much simpler than you think! Once we know the cause of the problem, we know how to address it. The first thing to remember is that the audience is not, in fact, judging your every move. They are likely interested in what you have to say, and will not be judging you too harshly or too quickly. Do not overestimate the opinion of your audience.

Another way to overcome your anxiety for an upcoming public address is to practice. Practice really does make perfect! ( Whatever it is you will be reading, practice it in front of a mirror so you can see yourself. Practicing in front of your own reflection will be an easy transition. Another good thing to try is recording your speech and playing it back. If you do a video recording, you can not only listen to your speech, but also you are able to see how you physically present yourself. If you simply do an audio recording, this can help with speech memorization. If you listen to the speech over and over while performing other tasks, such as washing dishes, typing emails, or taking a shower, you can take in the speech subconsciously. Some people even play their speeches while they are falling asleep!

Now that we have worked towards getting rid of public speaking fears, we can move towards becoming an even more effective public speaker. The two most important factors in delivering a successful speech are this: having a speech that is solid, and having body language that conveys confidence. If you are delivering an informative or persuasive style speech, you must make sure that all your material is accurate, truthful, and non-offensive to your audience. Make sure your speech isn't overly wordy, confusing, or, worst of all, boring.

Body language is easier than you might think. People will judge the effectiveness of your speech based on how you physically carry yourself throughout it. Think confidence. Think power. What does that look like in terms of body language? It's seemingly small things that can make all the difference in the world. When you are talking, stand up straight, throw your shoulders back, and if you are standing still, plant your feet without locking your knees. This position shows confidence, and that you are not afraid to take up space and make yourself seen. This will, in turn, reflect back on what you have to say. Not only are you confident in being there, but you feel confident in what you are there to say.

When it comes to your speaking voice, make sure you speak loudly, clearly, and speak at an even rate. They need to hear you in every corner of the room, but there is no need to shout. Mumbling is for awkward teenagers, not for someone like you with a message to spread, so make sure you speak with diction and drama without being over the top. Let them hear every perfectly-crafted word. Finally, find that balance between speaking to fast and speaking to slow. Nervous people often race through their public addresses, and important information is missed. However, speaking too slowly can be perceived as a sign of weakness or even attempted deceit.

Finally, never underestimate the importance of eye contact. In our culture, eye contact is seen as a sign of respect as well as an indication of truth telling. If you avoid contact, it is assumed that you are lying or hiding something. Do your best to make and maintain eye contact with your audience as you present your speech. The more you practice, the less intimidating this will seem. If you maintain eye contact with your audience, they will see you and your speech as more credible. If you still feel uncomfortable making eye contact, trying looking at noses or foreheads- it gives the illusion of eye contact for them while being more comfortable for you.

It's that simple. Overcoming your fear is as simple as taking a few deep breaths, practicing your words, and reminding yourself that only your opinion is the one that matters. Give the impression that you own that room, and you will blow the socks off every person sitting in front of you. Now, go change the world!

Useful books on Amazon

The Art of Public Speaking by Stephen Lucas
Speak Like Churchill, Stand Like Lincoln: 21 Powerful Secrets of Historys Greatest Speakers
Confessions of a Public Speaker:the techniques behind what great communicators do
No Sweat Public Speaking By Fred E.Miller

Written by: Chinesa Rose Rusch, United States.

Go Back to Education

Edited by: Rajesh Bihani ( Find me on Google+ )

Disclaimer: The suggestions in the article(wherever applicable) are for informational purposes only. They are not intended as medical or any other type of advice