Tuesday, 26 October 2010

10 Tips to Succeed at Public Speaking

by Anne Bellamy, Author of Using The Law of Attraction to Help The Universe Help You   
Public speaking is said to be the number one fear most people have, even ahead of death.  And if you're a Seinfeld fan, you know his joke that most people at a funeral would rather be in the coffin, then giving the eulogy.  If you have to give a speech and you're losing sleep over it, I've compiled a list of what are my top ten tips to succeed at public speaking.  They've helped me a lot and maybe they can do you some good too.

10. Claim Your Territory.  No I don't mean tinkle all over the room. What I do mean is, try to be the first person in the room where you'll be giving your speech.  Get the feel of the room.  Stand at the front and get used to the view.  This way, when your audience starts to enter, if you're already there, then it's your room.  You are there to greet them.  They are entering your territory, not vice versa.  This puts you in a position of power and will boost your confidence.

9. Use Your Imagination.  Personally, there are some people I just don't want to imagine in their underwear, and more than likely, there will be people like that in your audience.  Like Dale Carnegie, author of How To Win Friends and Influence People said, imagine that everyone in the room owes you money.  Again, it puts you in the power position. 

8. Talk About What You Know.  What's the easiest thing for people to talk about?  Themselves!  Why? Because it's a subject everyone is an expert on. I'm not saying that every speech you give will be about yourself, but it does help to add personal anecdotes and examples into your speeches.  Try talking about yourself....it's easy!

7. It's Cliche, But It Makes Perfect.  Practice, practice, practice.  I like to practice in front of a mirror.  This way you know what the audience will be seeing.  Notice you don't smile much?  Then smile!  Tend to play with your hair? Hands off!  You'll also be forced to look at yourself, and will memorize your speech better, so that you're not staring into cue cards the whole time.

6. Avoid the Pasties.  Always keep a glass or bottle of water nearby.  Speaking nervousness=dry mouth.  It's perfectly okay to take a moment to have a sip of water.

5. Embrace the Jitters.  Nervousness when public speaking is almost unavoidable.  Even those of us who do it regularly, and actually enjoy it, get a bit nervous beforehand.  It means you care, that it matters to you.  Remember, it's usually the first few moments that are the worst.  Get over that hurdle, and you'll feel better.

4. Do It In Your Head First.  Visualize yourself giving a speech.  See yourself looking and acting confident.  Expect the best, not the worst.  It really does help.

3. Don't Be a Stranger.  Stop looking down at your cards, and make eye contact with the audience.  This gives the impression of confidence and your audience will be much more interested and engaged in what you are saying.  You may also find a friendly face out there.  Someone who's smiling or just looks kind.  Keep going back to that person from time to time.

2. Keep on Rolling.  If you make a mistake, that's okay.  In fact, chances are, your audience won't even know that you've made a mistake.  They don't know what you're going to say, so if you forget part of your speech, they're probably none the wiser.

1. There are No Hitmen.  Have you ever listened to someone giving a speech and thought to yourself  "I'd really love it if they messed up.  I'm gonna laugh at them if they do!"  Of course not.  Nobody wants you to fail.  Nobody is waiting for you to mess up.  They want you to do well!  It's uncomfortable for them if you don't.  Nobody is out to get you.