If you’ve ever felt anxiety before a speech or dreaded being called to the head of the class, you are NOT alone. For some, public speaking a downright phobia (aka Glossophobia) and for others, it’s a constant struggle to overcome those pre-presentation jitters. No matter your comfort level, there are a few things to make public speaking easier, more enjoyable (yes, it’s possible) and more successful. Here are a few of our top OffiCentric tips:
Engage your audience by asking questions.
Your audience, on average, doesn’t have much of an attention span once you step onto that stage. Keep them off their phones and paying attention by getting them to actively participate. Ask them questions that relate to their lives or experiences – of course, you want to be able to tie it into your subject. But keep things interesting by forcing them to actively listen and share. On the plus side, if you’re nervous, it takes some attention off you and breaks a lot of the ice.
Be authentic and speak to them like you would a friend.
Don’t stuff your presentation with words and phrases you would never actually say in a conversation with someone you know. People can see through content that is written with the intention of “sounding smart”. Don’t add buzzwords or jargon because they often are meaningless and give your audience the immediate desire to check out mentally. When you speak to people at a conversational, you become approachable and inviting. People will be more inclined to listen to what you have to say.
Keep your content simple.
From your slides to your main points, keep them simple, clean and easy to remember. If you have some main points, introduce them in the beginning and reiterate them in the end for effect. Make your slides visually interesting and not covered in bullet points or text boxes. Your audience didn’t come to read off of a screen – tell them what they need to know with the help of a visual aid. Don’t enable yourself to read off our own slides either, it’s not exactly fun for those watching you.
Whether you work with a coach or practice in your car or in front of your mirror, you’ve got to practice so that you know your content inside and out. When you know your material well, you come off as a confident presenter. It also prepares you for any questions, interruptions or any other mishaps. Be prepared for the worst: your slides not working, the audio cutting out, etc. That way you can pause and get back to it without hesitation.
However you do it, be all there. Being distracted takes the joy out of not only your experience but for those around you. Let yourself have some fun and relax. You deserve it.