If you are called to lecture a group of people on a subject that you are supposed to be knowledgeable in, there are several things that can come in the way. One of them is the nervousness of having to speak with a crowd. So far you have been feeling yourself very confident whenever you got an opportunity of talking in a family meeting. You knew your audience very well and they knew your nature. They know when to promote you. They can divert your attention without hurting you. But when you are exposed to speak to the gathering of the persons you do not know before hand, you can get nervous. It happens with many persons.
Public speaking is the process of speaking to a group of people in a structured, deliberate manner intended to inform, influence, or entertain the listeners. But it is a nightmare for most people when it is extempore. Things can go very wrong if you aren’t prepared for delivering your views that you have been called for. You can become a laughing stock. That can be improved, just you need to keep yourself ready every time.
In public speaking, we usually find five basic elements:
1. Who is saying?
3. To whom ?
4. Using what medium?
5. With what effects?
The purpose of public speaking can range from simply transmitting information, to motivating people to act, to simply telling a story. Good orators change the emotions of their listeners to deliver their message. Public speaking embraces motivational speaking, leadership/personal development, business, customer service, large group communication, and mass communication. It can be a powerful tool to use for purposes such as exerting influence, persuasion, informing, translation, or simply entertaining.
You would be surprised to know that a lot of eminent public speakers still mention about their stage-fright. We are social animals, but when it comes to facing a crowd in a commanding manner, many of us falter. We may take care as follow:
1. The first thing you must do is practice. You must go through the topic you are going to speak about several times over. If you are called to speak on something extempore, this can’t be done, but let us assume you have a notice, however short it is. Rehearse the speech in your mind.
2. While rehearsing, you must actually mentally place yourself on the stage. Don’t think about the empty walls that surround you right now, think about the several eager ears that will be sitting in front of you. This puts new pep into your practicing and actually motivates you to practice more.
3. The first sentence is your ice-breaker here. If you deliver it well, the rest of the speech usually becomes a breeze. Make sure you practice it the most.
4. Now, keep one thing in mind. Your audience is very much interested in hearing what you have to say. They aren’t going to heckle you. In fact, they will encourage you by giving applause or a laugh at the right moment. Understand that your audience is with you – they are probably considering you are superior to them because you are the one talking.
5. Always keep a few great jokes ready, especially to tell them at the start. When you see your audience laughing at what you say, you feel more relaxed. The nervousness tides away.
6. Focus on what you are trying to say, not on your words. This is extremely important. It is all right if you slur some words or if some words come out of your mouth ungrammatically. What’s important is that your message should be conveyed.
7. If you make a mistake or if you have a slip-up, there is no need to be apologetic. Your audience is human; they understand such things. In most cases, people don’t even notice small speech errors.
8. Keep practicing. Don’t let any opportunity to speak to a crowd pass you by. When you speak more, you are able to deliver better.
9. Think of yourself as important and you will be able to do a lot better. For that, you will need confidence; you will need to know your self-worth. Confidence is of paramount importance. In fact, there is no reason why you shouldn’t be confident. When you are speaking to some people, those people are seeking to understand something and they feel that you are the one with the knowledge. Automatically, you are at a more superior pedestal than they are. They trust in you already, to an extent.
10. You should make your stepping over the stage with flair. The audience should know that an important personality, not just another ordinary man, is about to deliver his views, has entered. Dress well and carry yourself with grace. A good stepping marks the beginning of a good speech.
11. Don’t just bombard them with your name. It is a better idea to tell them what you are going to tell them on, give them a few lines of what they should expect to be doing during your speech and then give your name.
12. Speaking of interaction, keep your speech interactive. You will find that you can communicate to a much greater degree that way. Ask them simple things, like their opinion on a particular point, what they would have done if they were in place of the subject and so on. Make them think, make them ponder. That keeps them away from judging you. It keeps them engrossed.
13. Be thorough with what you will be speaking out. You should know your subject inside-out, especially if you are going to allow them to ask questions at the end.
14. It is all right to take pauses in the course of your speaking. In fact, that’s one advantage of keeping your talking interactive. During the short intervals you give them to think, you can take a moment to gather yourself.
15. You may close with confidence too. Summarize all the points of your speech, because your audience will be more alert toward the end than they were during it, and sign off with a smile.
Since public speaking gains a lot, I hope that you will take it more seriously.
Be Happy – Talk Well With Anyone.