Overcoming ones anxiety of speaking in front of an audience and becoming a talented speaker, takes practice, practice, practice. Sometimes personal coaching may also be very useful in the struggle to overcome obstacles. The following are some general tips on how to prepare yourself, and useful suggestions for mastering your thoughts during the actual performance. We hope these will be beneficial particularly for those of you who do not enjoy public speaking.
Tips on preparation
Have the courage and confidence to talk to others in different contexts whenever the opportunity arises. State your opinion when among friends and have the courage to introduce a topic of conversation with a stranger.
Time and place
Find out where you are going to hold your lecture/talk. A good idea would be to visit the hall/auditorium/venue once before the actual event to check out the selection and standard of technical aids available. In this way you can avoid unpleasant surprises. Make sure and confirm the exact time you are expected to start and for how long you are expected to speak.
A good tactic is to begin preparations well in advance. Start thinking about the gist of your presentation. When you then start preparing the actual presentation you will notice that you have already got quite far.
Establish what you aim to achieve with your presentation; targets that are clear, simple and measurable. The objective will act as an incentive to spur you on.
First impressions are important. Right from the start get your audience to focus on the message you would like to communicate rather than on your own account.
Feel comfortable and at ease
An excellent idea is to get to the hall with time to spare. This will allow you ample time to start up any equipment you will be using, to familiarise yourself with the venue and even to rearrange furniture. Later when the audience arrives you can calmly devote your time entirely to the issue at hand, the actual presentation.
During the presentation
At the very beginning there is often a sense of jitters walking onto the stage. To capture your audience´s attention you can either stand straight in front of the audience without saying anything for a couple of seconds, waiting for silence, or you can raise your voice slightly to attract their attention. Another option is to show the first image of your presentation material as a way of captivating their attention.
Once you have begun, remember to speak loudly and clearly so that everyone can hear. Sometimes it may be necessary to use a microphone so that everyone can hear properly. Avoid apologizing for minor details and demeaning yourself. Do not be excessive with your material when it comes to quantity or content; remember less can sometimes be more. Vary the material in your presentation to avoid boring your audience and if the presentation is quite extensive, allow time for a break. On a final note, restrict yourself to the time allotted and make a lasting impression with your successful presentation!