By Holly Reisem Hanna
Recently, I was asked to speak to a couple of groups of women informing them on how they can work from home. I immediately said yes, because it is a win-win situation. I get to share some valuable knowledge and insight with them, and in return, I get to promote myself and my site.
The only problem is, I’m deathly afraid to speak in front of large groups, heck, I even get anxious speaking in small groups for that matter. My hands start to sweat, my stomach starts to rumble, my heart races, and I feel tongue-tied. My husband always says, “Just relax. You're the expert, and nobody knows you and your business better than you.” True, but this is easier said than done.
So, I decided to call upon some of my colleagues who do speaking gigs on a regular basis and here are some tips for public speaking engagements that they shared with me.
Public Speaking Tips From Elizabeth Grace Saunders
1. Be Yourself.
Each speaker is unique, and you don't need to pretend to be someone else or have someone else's style.
2. Have Confidence.
You are a valuable person with a valuable message to share, that doesn't need the approval of the audience. This puts you both at ease.
3. Watch How You Move.
Or don't move your arms, hands, feet, etc. Body language makes a big difference.
4. Watch Your Tone of Voice.
I've had to learn to speak lower and fuller from my diaphragm.
Public Speaking Tips From Judy H Wright
5. Have a Ritual.
Wash your hands in cold water and pat them dry, don't rub. As you pat, say over and over “I have wisdom to share. Please help me find the one who came to hear me today. Help me to remember it is not about me, but about giving this message to that one person.” Go into a room (even a bathroom stall) and draw an imaginary circle on the floor. Now step into that circle of courage and reach down and gather the courage from the energy of the circle. Scoop up the imaginary courage and lather it all over (figuratively). Let it flow over your body until you are covered in courage. You have children, so you have seen them sprinkle themselves with magic dust. Once you are covered, just step out of the circle of courage, throw back your shoulders and step up to the podium.
6. Drink a Little Bit of Warm Water Before You Begin to Speak.
Not cold or your vocal cords will contract. Not a full glass or you will have to go to the bathroom before you get a chance to speak.
7. Use Hand Gestures to Get the Point Across.
If you have three main topics, then count them off on your fingers. People will want to look away from your mouth (which by the way, needs to be covered in a glowing color and lip gloss). Remember that verbal language is communication of information and will only be remembered about 15-20% of the time. Body or nonverbal language is the communication of relationships and will be remembered 80% of the time. Lean forward a bit, keep your shoulders relaxed, gesture to different people in the audience when you speak and shake hands when you leave.
Public Speaking Tips From Julie Anne Jones
8. Be Prepared.
The only time I truly get nervous is when I know I'm not really prepared. I'm not a real “fly by the seat of your pants” girl, and I want to know my subject matter and the order of my information backward and forward before I step in front of an audience. I don't use a script, but I do use an outline, and I practice my presentation OUT LOUD as many times as I need to until I feel comfortable with it before each presentation.
9. Get Your Audience Involved.
The more you do that, the less you'll feel like all the pressure to create the experience is on you. Ask questions, break people into small groups, give short writing assignments that forward your message, and encourage interaction with you and each other in any way you can.
10. Have Fun and Be Yourself.
No one (except you) expects you to be perfect. If your main intention when you step on stage is to have fun, you'll naturally loosen up. Even if your subject matter is more serious, you can find the interesting and “real” aspects of it. Share personal stories that make you “real” to your audience, even if that means being vulnerable or sharing your life from a personal perspective.
Public Speaking Tips From Donna Johnson
11. Build a Rapport with Your Audience.
Arrive and set-up early. This allows you the opportunity to be available to greet your audience and get to know a little about them BEFORE you give your presentation. This also helps you relax and get rid of nervous tension. The audience respects you as the subject matter expert, but your authenticity will let them know you’re no different from them.
12. Have a Conversation – Don’t Give a Lecture.
Engage your audience by asking questions and encouraging participation. Your audience wants to hear (relevant) stories; they don’t want to be overwhelmed with statistics and bored to do death by formalities.
13. Slow Down and Speak Up.
The most common reasons speakers are sometimes difficult to understand is due to talking way too fast and not being loud enough to be heard – especially by those in the back of the room. Use a microphone whenever possible. Change your pitch and volume naturally to avoid being monotonous.
Do you have a tip for speaking in public? I ‘d love to hear it!
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