5 Tips to Make You feel Comfortable Speaking
Before we start remember there’s a difference between feeling nervous before speaking and being so tied
up with nerves you can’t actually deliver.
It’s perfectly normal to feel nervous beforehand and almost all regular public speakers will tell you they feel that way too.
These tips are for people who find themselves so affected by nerves they think they can’t perform. So look at the list and if you experience any of the fears then find out how to deal with it.
If you experience any of these......
- Self-consciousness in front of large groups. This is probably the most common feeling of discomfort people have when speaking. I often am told: "I'm OK talking to small groups like my team but when it's 40..80...350 people I get really anxious. There are two things that can help. A) remember that the people in a large audience are just the same collection of individuals you would talk to talk to outside the talk; and B) focus on speaking to individuals within the audience and having a conversation with them. If you can picture this happening in your mind you will feel much more comfortable.
- Fear of Appearing Nervous. Some
people worry about looking worried or nervous. You then think that
because the audience will see you're nervous you'll think that they
will think you don't know what you're talking about and your credibility
wuill be undermined. But people aren't generally like that. If we see
someone looking nervous our response is to feel sympathy and want to
support them. never forget that audiences are people like you!
- Concern that the people in the audience are judging you. There's a simple but somewhat brutal fact that people don't really care about you as an individual. They are listening to you because of what they want to get out of your talk or presentation. So make sure your content is focussed on what your audience is expecting to get out of their experience and don't worry about being liked!
- Worry about Body Movement and Gestures. Think about it. When you're with friends you're at perfect physical ease with them - you don't feel self-conscious about how you're standing or moving etc. Part of the problem is that we become vey self aware when we are the centre of attention, especially when we are standing up. One simple trick is to practise with a group of friends/family by standing up and getting them to remain seated while you're talking. This will help you become accustomed to being the centre of attention.
- Poor or Insufficient Preparation We've all done it - tried to "wing" the presentation or even the 60 seconds intro at networking. It simply doesn't work and in fact shows disrespect for your listeners. More to the point it places us under great stress when we are standing there and don't know what to say next. Conversely, putting in the preparation time brings you confidence. How good a feeling is it when you absolutely know you're prepared! So don't skimp on the preparation and in particular don't assume that because you know your subject that you'll be able to talk effectively about it. Remember you need to look at it from the audience point of view. WIIFT? (What's in it for them?)