Tips for Public Speaking to Feel Relaxed Without Taking Public Speaking ClassesAre you one of the many people who has a lot of public speaking anxiety? Perhaps the mere prospect of public speaking makes you sweat rivulets of hot wet fear down your face and armpits, drenching your shirt and making the whole process even more awful and embarrassing?
Or, it’s not absolutely horrible, but you know you could do a better job with public speaking and enjoy it more …
Perhaps you’ve run Google searches for “tips public speaking” and “public speaking classes” and still haven’t found the training or reassurance you want to feel relaxed public speaking in front of a group of hundreds …
If you have public speaking anxiety, you are not alone. Apparently, this fear of public speaking is one of the MOST COMMON phobias people have.
As a former practicing attorney who spent my share of time in the courtroom, I have done a lot of public speaking in high pressure situations. Not only can we make public speaking easy on you, we can make it so much fun that you’ll actually start looking forward to your next opportunity to do it.
Here are some easy tips public speaking experts might forget to tell you:
Tips Public Speaking #1: Join a Toastmasters group. Lots of practice in an environment with less pressure. I recommend this very highly.
Tips Public Speaking #2: Have a basic structure for your speech, but never read from notes.
As with attempting to seduce women, using canned material is the worst because there’s no life in it. I see people go way too far in one direction or the other. Either they get on stage with obviously no preparation and no clue where they’re going with their speech, rambling about — OR they have everything scripted out and there’s no spontaneity. The under-planners seem unprepared and unfocused. The over-planners are like talking robots and are not able to connect with the audience on an emotional level.
Your listeners crave structure and coherence because it feels satisfying, but they also crave spontaneity because it feels more engaged. Gotta give them both.
Little-known tip for public speaking: The most famous part of the “I Have A Dream” speech by Martin Luther King, Jr. was not scripted but improvised. He was connecting with someone in the audience and began riffing off script. It is often acknowledged as the most powerful part of his speech that day!
Tips Public Speaking #3: Get inspired by your own speech.
At the end of the day, you’ve got to be interested in it yourself, or no one else is going to care either. If it’s a topic that is boring to you, find something … ANYTHING .. about it that is interesting, and start there. In order to engage the audience, public speaking must engage you first.
Tips Public Speaking #4: Get the audience ACTIVELY engaged.
If you do a lot of public speaking, sooner or later … and probably sooner … you are going to find yourself in front of an audience of seemingly dead people. Their eyes are glazed over before you even open your mouth. They are sitting slouched in their chairs, probably daydreaming about the laundry they forgot to do before they arrived. Maybe everyone just ate lunch, the room is hot and sticky, and many people are wondering when they get to go home. You’re going to get nowhere with them if they don’t come alive at least a little bit.
This is one of my absolutely essential public speaking tips is to get your audience actively engaged as quickly as possible.
What do I mean by this? Well, pretend to yourself that you are engaging with each person in the room one on one. Ask questions, get down in the audience, ask for a show of hands, call on people randomly, do whatever it takes to get the audience engaged.
It will keep you engaged and present and connected, and it will keep them from falling asleep. People think a speech is all about the speaker, but that’s not true at all. The speaker and the audience create a combined energy field that either makes for an awesome speech or a crappy one. It’s as much about them as it is about you. If you do call on people, make sure to listen to what they say and truly engage them in a conversation.
Tips Public Speaking #5: Practice your public speech, but don’t rehearse.
This is one of the tips public speaking experts are rarely going to give you, because most people think a rehearsed speech is a great speech. I don’t agree. Let’s remember Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and how the best part of the “I Have A Dream” speech was improvised …
The perfect speech is different every time you give it. This is because, if you’re truly in the moment, it may keep the same structure but have a different flavor depending on the connection between you and the audience. Always go with the moment. If you’re scared to improvise and be in the moment, another public speaking tip is to take an improv theater class to become more spontaneous and confident flowing with improvisation.
Tips Public Speaking #6: Speak slowly, and don’t be afraid to pause during your public speaking.
People need to be able to absorb what you’re saying. Pauses can be used as segues to your next point and to give everyone a moment to absorb.
Tips Public Speaking #7: If you haven’t done much public speaking, videotape yourself a few times beforehand so you notice any weird mannerisms or bad habits to cut out. You’ll also get a more objective sense of whether you’re speaking too slow or fast, too loud or soft, etc.
Tips Public Speaking #8: Use Emotional Freedom Technique to erase your anxiety and limiting beliefs about public speaking. Because advanced Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT or tapping) can be used on just about everything, it will help to erase any anxiety you have. The more relaxed you are, the better your speech will go.
(For the uninitiated, Emotional Freedom Technique – also known as EFT or tapping – is an acupressure-based healing system that can be used to erase limiting beliefs and negative emotions very quickly, making tasks that once seemed impossible feel easy and effortless.)
Do you have a big speech coming up? Practice these eight little-known tips for easy public speaking … and next time you get on stage, be surprised how much more fun and comfortable it feels … Break a leg, my friend ;)
About the Author:
Erika Awakening is a Harvard Law School graduate and former practicing attorney. She left the rat race to become a location-independent entrepreneur, holistic life coach, blogger, speaker, healer, and Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT tapping) expert. Erika Awakening is one of the world's foremost experts on eradicating limiting beliefs and lifestyle design on your own terms. Learn more about Erika Awakening
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