Career Woman

5 Tips to master the art of public speaking

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Do you have literal nightmares about public speaking? Are you breaking out in a sweat even reading the intro to this article? Then read on. Public speaking doesn’t have to be scary. Personally, overcoming the fear of public speaking has been a big achievement for me. As an introverted graphic designer, learning to be confident speaking in front of people was no mean feat. But, if I can do it then anyone can! With that in mind, here are five tips to master the art of public speaking:

1. Watch and learn

Next time you see a really great presenter in action, take note. Really observe what they are doing. What about them portrays confidence? Part of learning a new skill is mimicking others who are already good at it. Watch how confident presenters speak, use their body language and tone of voice. Then, try it out for yourself.

2. Slow … no, slower!

When you get up to present, you probably talk too fast. Most people do. And, it’s the easiest fix in the book. Slow down, and instantly become a better public speaker. Often, we don’t even realise how quickly we’re speaking. The art of public speaking is different to that of every day conversation. So, you need to speak more slowly than you normally would. It makes you a clearer, more theatrical speaker. You will say ‘um’ less and your audience will walk away remembering more of what you said.

3. Breathe

When the nerves kick in, take a deep breath. When I first started presenting, I would freeze up in panic. I would literally stop breathing. Then, I learnt the power of pause. Taking a deep breath lets oxygen flow to your brain, helping you focus and keep calm. It also means your audience has time to absorb what you’re saying. Take a deep belly breath as you begin your speech. Then, keep an eye on your breathing throughout your presentation – make sure your sentences are punctuated by breaths.

4. Be yourself

No one expects you to be a totally different person up the front than you usually are. Embrace who you are and take that with you on stage. Speaking about your unique passions is the best way to become a better public speaker – your personality will shine through. More than anything, audiences love authenticity. Even if your nervous, remember that the audience just wants to see who you really are.

5. Practice makes perfect

No one becomes a great public speaker or presenter overnight. It takes practice. The more you just get up and a have a go, the more confident you will be. Mistakes are not your enemy, they are part of life. The better you know your material, your stage, your audience and yourself, the better public speaker you will be. The more often you try, the more often you will succeed. Go easy on yourself, almost everyone is nervous about speaking publicly. But, one step at a time – you can practice your speaking skills and grow in ability as a speaker.

Public speaking is a skill you can master. By implementing some simple techniques, you can become an effective public speaker. Many people have one bad public speaking experience which turns them off for life. Or, they have simply been told that they are not a good public speaker. When these beliefs start to crowd our minds, we can’t expect to perform well. The reality is, anyone can be a good speaker or presenter. With a bit of hard work and lots of practice, you can speak confidently.

About Emma Bannister

Emma Bannister is passionate about presenting big, bold and beautiful ideas. She is the founder and CEO of Presentation Studio, APAC’s largest presentation communication agency, and author of the book ‘Visual Thinking: How to transform the way you think, communicate and influence with presentations.’ Visit https://www.presentationstudio.com/

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