Baby eats a lemon for the first time – TALLspeaking – Public Speaking made easy

28 Aug

Here are some tips to get that bitter Public Speaking experience out of your mouth!

Tips for Dealing with Speech Anxiety

Before the speech . . .

Identify the cause of your nervousness. Write down the reasons why you are nervous to give a speech or presentation. If you come up with something like, “I’m afraid I’ll look stupid” dig a little deeper. What would make you look stupid? You may find that you are really afraid that you will forget what you wanted to say. This will help you pinpoint specific things to work on. If you are afraid you will forget what you wanted to say then spending extra time practicing your speech should reduce that anxiety.

Choose topics that you are interested in. We do not always get to choose topics that we speak about. If you are able to choose your topic pick one that interests you. It is much easier to spend time researching and preparing a presentation on a topic that you care about than one you have no interest in. You will also be more inclined to display enthusiasm about a topic that you enjoy.

Prepare your speech early and thoroughly. Having to prepare a speech at the last minute will only increase your anxiety. After you have prepared your speech PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE!! Practice delivering your speech at least 7 to 10 times before your actual presentation. Be sure that you know the organization of your main points to avoid losing your place. Watch yourself in the mirror while you deliver your speech, this will allow you to see your gestures and body language and practice making eye contact. You can also give your speech to friends or family members and ask them for feedback. Audio or videotaping your speech are other ways to evaluate and improve your delivery. If you are given a time limit for your presentation be sure to use a stopwatch as you give your speech. Time each practice run and make changes to ensure that you will be able to stay within your allotted time. Keep in mind that most of us speak more quickly when we are in front of a real audience.

Know your topic. If you have researched the topic thoroughly you will be certain that you are presenting accurate information and you will be able to answer questions that the audience may ask. These things will greatly increase your confidence.

Be aware of the speech situation. One of the hardest things for a speaker to deal with is a surprise. While we cannot completely avoid surprises we can minimize them. Make sure that you are aware of all aspects of the speech situation ahead of time. Know your time limit, the size of your audience, the make-up of your audience (see audience analysis), what equipment you will have available to you (computer, overhead, podium, easel, etc.), and any other details that may affect your presentation. Also, if you are using any type of technology in your speech (i.e. a PowerPoint presentation) be sure that you have a back-up plan (see Visual Aids and Technology). Technology can be a wonderful tool but it can also be unpredictable.

Set realistic expectations. No one is perfect. Public speaking is difficult to master even seasoned speakers make mistakes. Instead of telling yourself that you have to deliver your speech flawlessly, think realistic things like, “If I lose my place I will calmly scan my notes and then continue my speech” or “Small mistakes aren’t going to ruin my speech.”

Replace negative thoughts with positive ones and visualize success. Thinking negative thoughts increases anxiety. When a negative thought comes to mind try to immediately replace it with positive thoughts. For example, if you think, “I’m going to forget what to say and just stand there,” replace that with thoughts like, “I’ve done a great deal of research and I know this topic well” and “I have practiced my speech many times and I’m going to deliver it just like I practiced.” Other performers such as athletes and musicians have found that visualization can be a powerful tool to improve performance. See yourself delivering the speech with confidence and successfully conveying your message.

Continue gaining experience. One of the best ways to combat speech anxiety is to gain speaking experience. Take any opportunity that you have to speak in public. Speak in your classes or volunteer to give presentations for groups you are involved in – anything that gives you a chance to hone your speaking skills.

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