I think people put a lot of extra pressure on themselves when preparing for a speech or presentation.
They see people on television and other leaders give such polished talks that seem so easy and natural. They might have friends who just seem to shine easily when called up to speak in public. Then they set these high expectations for themselves which causes even more anxiety. For those who have a legitimate fear of public speaking, it doesn’t seem fair, does it? Just remember – you’re not them and you do not need to be perfect.
A few notables first.
Most of these polished speeches are very prepared, with the presenter spending hours or even days rehearsing and tweaking the flow of words, inflections, and intonations to get the delivery just right. These folks are giving talks or presentations constantly, so they can rely on a wealth of experience and probably have seen every situation out there. If you were forced to give a speech or two in public every day, it would help desensitize your public speaking anxiety, no matter how bad it is. Finally, as unfair as it seems, yes, many people simply aren’t fazed by public speaking or even crave center stage. I have at least two friends who are fantastic public speakers, even when completely unprepared. They just have no natural anxiety regarding public speaking and the words flow very naturally for them.
One thing that I believe can help a lot of people is to make use of notes when giving a talk or presentation.
I’ve seen people freeze or become nervous wrecks because they tried to memorize their speech – something goes wrong and their mind goes blank. Fight that urge to present yourself as a perfect speaker – if having some notes or cues helps improve your delivery or reduces your anxiety, go for it. Over time, there are other techniques you can use to deliver a speech without notes (if you really want to develop your presentation skills). However, we’re talking about techniques that will help reduce your anxiety, not increase it!
There is plenty of literature out there implying that having notes during your speech is a negative.
I agree it looks bad if you’re just *reading* right off a note sheet, but having one with you to cue topics or major talking points is fine. At least, I’ve never thought this was a negative, I simply judge the content. In fact, two of the better speakers I have seen used notecards.
The point being, yes, if these gentlemen can use a note sheet and be effective, so can you.
Now, what is the best way to use notecards or a notesheet during your talk? If you’re subject to high anxiety and prone to shaking hands, you probably don’t want to jot notes down on a single 8×11 piece of paper or that will worsen your situation and nerves. My suggestion (and what I have done) is to use an index card or fold up a regular sheet of paper into quarter size – it will have enough space to jot a few key notes and is small enough to not be a distraction.
If you’ll be sitting at a table or speaking behind a podium, it’s convenient to just place your notes in front of you. If you’re standing, you’ll obviously have to hold the notes in your hand. Regardless, remember the notes are there just as markers or cues, they should not contain your whole speech.
Only glance at them sporadically – i.e. when it’s time to move on to the next part of your speech. Hopefully, you have done enough preparation where the notes are just that extra confidence boost.
In summary, if you stress about what exactly you’ll say or worry about going blank, using notes for your speech is just fine – it may just push you from unsure to confident! Good luck.
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Business meetings present an opportunity to use your speaking skills. Knowing how to reach others so that they will leave the meeting with a positive experience means that public speaking for the professional is very important. Even if you aren't giving the main speech, you still need to be an active participant at the meeting. Read new literature and other career topics to know more. There are some techniques that are important to use in both cases.
These meeting speaking techniques will help you to be seen as a good speaker, which can boost the company's morale, as well as your career.
One of the more important meeting speaking skills is to make a concentrated effort to reach every person in the room.
Everyone has been in that situation where an individual is talking to the group, but their eyes are really only on one corner of the room, or on one particular individual. The goal is to direct your comments to everyone there, by making regular eye contact as you speak. This takes concentration at first, to make a conscious effort to move your eyes slowly around the room, but the reward is that everyone in the group will feel that you are talking directly to them as an individual, and therefore they are more likely to listen to what you are saying.
The person making a speech can destroy the meeting with their tone.
Business meetings have a purpose to produce positive results, but if a speaker is constantly being negative, then the meeting will often result in also being a negative experience, which will reduce the chance of productivity to occur. A useful skill is to frame your arguments and choose your words so that the overall message still sounds positive. Speaking with passion can be infectious and the end of a meeting should be the time for everyone to look to the future with energy and hope.
Some speaking talents are less obvious.
A person who is able to function well when speaking to groups is usually an individual who is able to identify the tone and style of the meeting, and then match that with the way they contribute. Therefore, if the meeting consists of members making mostly short and concise responses, then you should do the same to avoid clashing with the rest of the group. While this might sound like you are denying yourself the chance to stand out, you may not be able to produce good results if you are constantly breaking the rhythm of the meeting.
It is very important in the business world to have good and effective meeting speaking skills, as such skills will help to get much more accomplished at business meetings.
The company will thrive and you will become a key player, which can help in your upward movement within the company. Communication skills are more important in our world than they've ever been. Knowing how to maintain eye contact, how to set the tone of a meeting, or going with the natural flow of a meeting all are skills that can be learned and used effectively.
You have been asked to speak to a large, public group. You get nauseous at the thought. You break out into a sweat. You have nightmares about appearing before the group completely naked and unprepared. This is a common reaction for most people when it comes to public speaking. Speaking in front of a large audience does not come naturally to most people. It is something you have to learn and practice. The first few speaking engagements are going to be hard but you can do it. This article can help answer some of the questions you may have and give you some useful public speaking tips. With patience and a deep, cleansing breath you can get through it and even become quite a success.
When engaging in public speaking how should I organize my notes?
One of the worst mistakes anyone can make when speaking in public is to write out the full speech. It is far too tempting to just read from the page and not engage the audience. You have to make eye contact periodically with your listeners. If you are reading directly from a page it is easy to lose your place once you look up. You should just make a brief outline of the speech with key notes you want to remember. If you can do the speech without any notes at all you are definitely going to master public speaking quickly. The audience wants to hear from you so the more you can engage them and keep them focused, the better your speech will come off.
If my public speaking engagement involves slide shows and programs, how should I work this into my speech?
The first rule of public speaking is to never overburden your audience with lots of slide shows and programs. If you do, you become more like a narrator. It is great to have visual aids to show the audience key notes in your speech but do not over do it. It is tempting to make the whole speech centered on these aids but try to avoid it. It does not let you connect with the audience in a way that leaves a lasting impression.
Should I practice my public speaking in front of my family or friends?
You should definitely practice your public speaking in front of family and friends. They are often the best critics you could have, and are a great source of personalized public speaking tips. They may be biased towards you and want to spare your feelings but they will often truthfully give you points of advice. If you are speaking too fast they can tell you to slow it down. If you appear flustered or nervous, they can help put you at ease. They can also shed light on any part of your speech that is confusing. This can help you tweak your speech before you deliver it to your target audience.
Are there classes in public speaking I can take?
There are numerous classes offering some great public speaking tips that you can take. You can take a Dale Carnegie course which can also boost your self esteem. You can also take some debate classes at your local college or university. Sometimes motivational speakers will travel through your area and you may want to go see them just to see how they convey information. You can also read books on speaking in public for tips and hints on how to overcome your anxiety and improve your ability.