Public speaking is probably one of the most intimidating skills to acquire.
Your palms may get sweaty, your voice may tremble just a bit, and your knees may buckle underneath you.
This overwhelming fear of being judged by an audience can stop people from pursuing public speaking as a career option or even just speaking up during meetings.
However, if you are one of the few who manages to master your fears and learn how to speak confidently in front of a crowd, you will have a much easier time achieving success.
To help you with this journey, here are five tips to improve your public speaking skills:
Public speaking is a crucial skill that must be practiced just like any other form of art. Even the world’s most famous orators had gone through years of practice and training before they became proficient speakers.
2. Try New Things
One of the most important aspects of effective public speaking is adapting your speech so that it is relevant and exciting to the audience you are presenting before. Keep in mind that even if you have practiced your speech a hundred times over, not everyone listening has read or heard about what you’re going to be talking about.
3. Overcome the Fear of Being Judged
Public speaking, just like any other skill, is highly intimidating for most people. This fear can create anxiety in your body, making it harder to perform at a higher level even if you have practiced for many hours already. One way to overcome this fear is to face your fear head-on and understand that the only way for you to improve is by facing what you’re afraid of.
4. Realize that Nobody Knows Your Material Better than You
It’s very easy for a speaker to doubt their ability when they are up on stage. Remember that even if you have practiced all day long, the time when you are on stage is the only time that matters. There is no way for you to know your material if you have not practiced it, and by practicing relentlessly, you will ensure a smoother talk when you are on stage.
5. Realize that Everyone in Front of an Audience has felt the Same Way
You would not be the first person to feel anxious or uneasy in an audience. All great speakers have gone through this same process at some point, and when you are willing to accept that everyone else feels the same way as you do, it will help you reduce your own anxiety level. So, take a deep breath, and relax.
Practice makes perfect. Don’t be afraid to fail because you aren’t going to know how good your speech is until you try it in front of a real audience. Face your fears and learn from them. Nothing is going to happen that you can’t handle. If your anxiety gets the best of you, it’s just one speech, and you can always learn from the experience. Then it’s on to your next one.
The difference between great speakers and the average isn’t natural ability (though a spark certainly helps). It’s their willingness to get on stage and try.