Do you feel uneasy when it’s time to speak in front of people? Do you fear that everything is going to go wrong? Everyone has felt this way one way or another in their life. Public speaking can be scary for some, and even paralyzing for others. Below are some steps to help reduce anxiety before speaking in public:
1) Conduct Research.
Visit or call key participants to ask them what they expect from your presentation. That is, what do they want to learn from it? What do they already know about this topic? How will your presentation help them? Such conversations enlist these people as your allies during your presentation. It also helps you learn what people expect so that you can deliver it. This is like collecting the answers to an exam before taking it.
Write an outline and, if possible, write a script for key parts of it (such as the opening and close). Then practice giving your presentation without reading the script until you know it so well that you can deliver it conversationally. Avoid trying to memorize a script. That makes things too complicated and difficult. Practice your speech anywhere and at any time. For example, you can talk through parts of it while jogging, working on chores or taking a shower.
Practice your talk in the meeting room with a group of friends, coworkers and (if possible) your boss. Ask for their comments on how to improve your talk. Also, use this as an opportunity to become familiar with the room and any equipment, such as a projector.
4) Be the Host.
Arrive early so that you can meet and greet the attendees before your presentation. Shake their hands and thank them for coming. Introduce yourself to them and engage them in small talk. (e.g., “How are you?”) Act as if they were guests coming to your party. This converts them from strangers into friends.
5) Visualize Success.
Fantasize doing a wonderful job. If you let nightmares run through your mind, you will scare yourself. Give yourself confidence by expecting to do well. Know that everyone wants you to do an excellent job.
The key to success is being prepared. It helps you do a better job and fills you with confidence.
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