I remember taking Speech class in High School. The first speech that I gave had to last one minute. That minute seemed like a lifetime. To many individuals, it is very easy to talk to a group in a relaxed atmosphere. However, put them on the stage, where they have everyone’s attention, and they freeze up. Their muscles start to tighten. They have a hard time breathing. They struggle to get their point across. This is because they let fear control their responses. They are so afraid that they will say the wrong thing, they lose focus on what they were talking about.
Here are some tips to help you when you are forced into a Public Speaking assignment.
First, relax and think about the points you want to cover while you are speaking. Second, make small easy to read notes on a note card. Be sure to place them in the order that you want to speak in. Three, keep it short and to the point. Four, focus on the wall behind the group you are talking to. Do this if you get nervous when you look at the faces in the crowd. Some people will find two friendly faces and just focus on those two during their speech. This method can be very helpful. Five, speak slow and loud. If you have a microphone, stand close enough so that it works properly. Six, use gestures but, don’t over do it. Gestures help you relax and get your point across.
I often remember Luther (Don Knotts) giving a speech in the movie, “The Ghost and Mr. Chicken.” He had all his papers for his speech and the wind blew them away. One of the worst things you can do is read word for word from a written paper. The reason is simple. It shows your audience that you have no confidence in your speaking ability. It is okay to use a quote that you have written down but, then get back to your own speaking.
Throughout my life, I have been asked to speak at many social and public functions. Even today, I make an occasional mistake. It is no big deal. I will say this. The more times you speak, the more confident you get.
Listening to President Obama last night, I noticed that he even stuttered briefly on three separate occasions. Yet, he gave a dynamic and uplifting speech. Nobody noticed his minor speaking errors. The same is true with each of us. People pay attention to content. Delivery is used to accent that content.
So the next time you have to give a Public Speech, fear not. Just follow the suggestions that I gave earlier and you will do fine. The more times you give a public speech, the more you will refine your speking skills.