Boost Your Public Speaking With These Tips

A couple of  tips to boost your public speaking.

 Yesterday I published Brett Gurney’s blog post..

Improving Communication Skills – I Would Rather Just Run Away and the very first thing I thought about was how I personally feel when talking to people.

Now I can go into a store and talk my fool head off with no problem, but put me in front of people then anxiety overcomes me.   I cant remember what I was going to say, I stutter and one of my all time embarrassments is I can’t pronounce words properly ( trust me it sucks)

public speaking anxiety

For those of you who are comfortable with any form of public speaking, take a bow and trust me I applaud you, but for the rest of us who have the overriding feeling of running away then this can be a very difficult thing to do.  Just as Brett said  ” I guess all I can do is keep trying”.

But is that all we can do? “keep trying”? I don’t know about you, but to me the word “try” is giving me an out, Do you understand what I mean? No?

Then let me explain – some years ago I had a friend who hated with a passion the word “try” and of course I was the person who was always saying ” ya OK, I’ll give it a try”. One day he roared and said..stop using the word “Try” when you use that word, what you are really saying is you wont really do it, because you have already thought of defeat”! Those words have stayed with me ever since.

The fact is public speaking is here to stay and it’s not just in front of an audience off line that we may give presentations.  Google Hangouts, webinars, Skype calls, YouTube, all of them are a form of public speaking, so we better come up with some good ideas to help us get through them.

Over time I have been learning to be more comfortable with public speaking ( although its still not easy for me) and one the first tips that I learned was  to start breathing. It has been proven that deep breathing helps lower your blood pressure and helps you relax. Take deep breaths from your belly, hold each one for several seconds, and let it out slowly.

 Another trick that I have been doing  when I feel the anxiety starting to rise, I pick a number and count backwards.  I have noticed when I do that I am breaking that nasty cycle of nerves.  Try it the next time and this one tip can be used in any situation where you are nervous over something.

Another tip to boost your public speaking is to start thinking of any presentation you have as a conversation. When you get people involved in your presentation, then something remarkable happens, your not nervous anymore.  Even though there will be those times when you are “standing” alone, then you put in your mind that you are having a conversation, then giving that presentation will be a lot less scary.

One bonus tip that I would never have thought of came from  Mikael Cho on TNW ( The Next Web), titled: How to cure stage fright: The science behind public speaking   and it got me really thinking – how to stop saying “ums” and “ahs”.  I have a bit of a bad habit when it comes to the “ums” especially when typing, so this is a good tip for that also

One of the best ways to knock these filler words out of your vocabulary is to use a technique called chunking. Chunking means splitting your presentation up into short burst of words followed by a short break and then continuing on with another short burst of words.

If you want to know some other ways to reduce the stress of public speaking then I suggest that you go through this SlideShare and learn about the Lizard brain.

When it all comes down to it, when you are doing public speaking just be yourself.  The more you try (oops that word again) to be something your not, the more room you have for failure. 
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  • LOL. President Obama is an absolute master of “chunking,” and he is the president of the most powerful nation on earth!

    I used to be terrified to the point of barely being able to get any sound out, at all, if I even made it to the podium. Now I am able to speak to any size crowd.

    In my case, it was literally a miracle. One week I was utterly terrified; the next the fear was all gone and has never returned. To those who do experience this kind of fear in public speaking, I have great sympathy.

  • It happens with me also, but that doesn’t mean that I just stop speaking to public. I overcome my fears many times. I try to cover my inabilities by creating a humorous environment and making the place light. You get to know a lot of things, but certain practice is the best mantra to overcome your fear.

  • “Do. Or do not. There is no try.” –Yoda

    I completely agree with your “conversation” approach.

    One thing I tell my public speaking students is to remember how they feel when they’re talking to an individual one-on-one. It’s a “comfortable place” for them. Then I tell them to think of public speaking as a series of short one-on-one conversations with INDIVIDUALS in the audience. Seek out the people making eye contact with you, the ones who are nodding their heads in agreement, the folks smiling at you, and have genuine conversations with them during your presentation.

    I love seeing their faces light up as they realize, “Hey! I can do that!”


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