How To Public Speak When You HATE To Public Speak

Few of us can claim to be Steve Jobs or Martin Luther King when it comes to public speaking. Doing so requires skill, self confidence and a shedding of ones inhibition. If youve got no choice but to deliver a speech of some sort and are absolutely dreading it, Ive got some good news.

You can absolutely nail this. Anyone can.

How do I know? Because, just like you, Im not one for standing up in front of people and talking. And were not alone – it really isnt what were designed to do; public speaking is an entirely unnatural process.

However, just like anything in life, were all capable of delivering an engaging, heart-felt public speech. Ive managed to shed the fear that was crippling my performance and, in this post, Id like to share with you how I prepare each and every time Im asked to deliver a public speech.

I remind myself that perfection isnt important

No one expects perfect delivery when you take to the podium. With that in mind, you dont need to follow the Aristotle guide to communication to get your option across. You just need belief in what youre saying, the ability to speak clearly, zero waffle and a good dose of passion.

Your audience will find the odd mistake or stumble endearing, so dont strive for perfection.

I dont shy way from ad-libbing

One of the worst things you can do prior to a speech is write down exactly what you want to say, word for word. And this may sound rather odd, because the process of writing a speech suggests you should do exactly that.

In my experience, it is far better to construct a beginning, middle and end with the salient points you want to make highlighted for easy reference. Delivering an entire speech from paper isnt particularly exciting for the audience, and it can be rather counterintuitive, often leading to mistakes when youre at the podium.

I dont over-rehearse

When I first started speaking in public, I spent forever practicing while going about my daily life, whether it be in front of the mirror, while making my breakfast or en route to the venue. As it turned out, this was a bad idea.

Practice is vital, but over-rehearsing will only make you more nervous and, when the time comes to stand up in front of your audience, youll be so obsessed with delivering the brilliant version you performed in the shower that morning that youll inevitably make mistakes.

I anticipate questions

Sometimes, the scariest part of public speaking is dealing with the unexpected. Such occurrences usually come in the form of questions following the speech, so it makes sense to arrive pre-armed with some responses to questions youre likely to receive. You cant account for every eventuality, but consider the most obvious and make notes you can quickly refer to.

I dont lean on PowerPoint

People, generally, hate PowerPoint presentations – lets get that straight. The best are the ones with the fewest slides, but even then, a deluge of on-screen information only detracts from the speaker. If youre nervous about being in the spotlight, you may want to do that, but in doing so youll probably lose your audience.

Using presentations during a speech also introduces a technical element that can all too easily go wrong. Dont give yourself too much to do – rely on your words and your words only.

I hope the above helps during the planning of your next speech. You can do it – we all can. Just remember that most people in the room will be rooting for you – everyone knows how hard it is to get up and talk in front of people, after all.

Best of luck in learning one of lifes most important skills!

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