A strong public speaking ability is a useful addition to anyone’s set of skills regardless of their industry. However, make no mistake about it. If your knees start to wobble and your voice starts to tremble at the very idea of grabbing a microphone, you’re not alone.
Some of the greatest performers in history have battled with stage fright in their lifetimes. The key is learning the right tactics to overcome your fear. By using interactive techniques you will not only engage an audience, but even wow them.
Here are some of the best tips for speaking publicly and holding an audience’s attention.
Practice Makes Perfect
As with most anything, the more prepared you are, the less stressed you’ll feel. Try to research the topic of your presentation as much as possible. Rehearse your speech as many times as it takes to feel like you could do it with your eyes closed.
The trick is to master it so well that it comes across as natural and unrehearsed to your audience. As a result, they’ll feel more at ease and engaged. As if they’re having a conversation with an old friend.
Make Eye Contact
You wouldn’t have a conversation with someone at a dinner table staring over the top of their head the entire time would you? They would feel totally disconnected from your words. So, why should speaking to a group of people be any different?
Keep your eye contact active and engaged throughout your presentation by making direct eye contact with individual members of the audience as you go. Keep it natural and look at them in the eyes as you would if you were talking to a single person.
Know Thy Audience
If you hope to appeal to whoever you’re speaking to, then you’ll need to know what makes them tick. Get a feel for exactly who you’re talking to and what they’re all about.
By having a grasp on your audience’s level of knowledge and personality, you’ll be able to fine-tune your speech to meet their demands.
It’s easier said than done; however, relaxation is truly the key to public speaking. Try to practice some deep breathing exercises before delivering your speech, or any kind of relaxation technique that works for you.
The more prepared and physically relaxed you are, the more mentally relaxed you’ll be. An audience can feel your nerves, so take a deep breath and relax!
The more that you use your body, the more your audience will stay entertained. Try to use your hands as much as possible and use the stage if you have one by moving around.
Keep your movements fluid and relaxed. Fluttering around rapidly will only detract from your overall message.
To read more on topics like this, check out the lifestyle category.