Do you hate public speaking? I know I do.
You can’t sleep the night before, you get jittery, your stomach acts up and you generally feel miserable when you know you have to speak in public.
If you’re a shy and introverted person, that makes things worse. Knowing that, you keep thinking everyone’s going to think you’re such a boring speaker.
That’s how I used to feel too. I still get nervous (that’s normal for everyone I’ve found) but now I can handle it better AND give a decent performance when I have to speak in public or give a presentation.
Here’s what I’ve learned, maybe these tips will help you too:
- Be aware of your breathing. When you get nervous, your breathing tends to become shallow and quick. Slow down your breathing and breathe deeply from your stomach.Here’s how: breathe deeply by inflating your stomach as you breathe in (not inflating your chest). Then deflate your stomach (pretend it’s a balloon and you’re pushing all the air out) as your exhale. Do this slowly.
- Unclench your teeth and jaw. Similar to the shallow breathing, when you get nervous, you tend to clench your teeth and your jaw. Be aware of that and relax your jaw and unclench your teeth.
- Practice, practice, practice. I feel more comfortable and confident about what I’m going to say when I’ve practiced the speech over and over again so that I don’t get overwhelmed on stage.
- Don’t read to your audience – speak to them. In school, I used to write the entire speech or presentation out word for word and then I would stand up on stage and read it out word for word.That’s extremely boring (for your audience and you). Now, I use keywords or Q-cards to remind me of the bigger topic that I need to talk about.
This makes sure that I’m looking at my audience and I use my own words and it makes it like I’m having a conversation with them which makes for a far better and memorable presentation.
- Involve the audience. Sitting in a room full of hundreds of people listening to one person talk is boring. That’s for university and college. If you want to be memorable and deliver a good presentation, involve the audience. Ask questions. Ask for opinions. Ask for sharing.
Hopefully, these five tips will help you deal better with your nerves when it comes to public speaking and help you deliver a more memorable presentation.