Do you shirk away from public speaking? Do you feel awkward, fumble on your words, wring your hands in nervousness and sweat profusely when made to face a crowd? Facing a crowd is probably one of the greatest fears that a person has. While you admire public speakers and wish that you could be one of them, have you ever considered finding a solution to your problem or understanding its root cause? Public speaking, or simply facing a crowd, usually scares the living daylights out of a person. The fear originates from the dread of committing mistakes in public, of public humiliation and the anxiety to meet the expectations of people. However, you can easily overcome this fear and transform yourself into a confident person who loves the crowds. Here’s how:
When you are confident about yourself, there is nothing in the world that can scare you. If you are to speak in front of a crowd, prepare your speech well. Spend some time researching the topic so that you can handle questions. Prepare a good presentation if you need one. Rehearse before a mirror to gain more confidence. Apart from preparing your speech, prepare yourself well too. Dress up well and appropriately for the occasion. A good outfit can do wonders in boosting your self-confidence, which in turn will help you in facing a crowd with much less anxiety.
Handle Your Hands Well
Often, when faced with a situation wherein you have to speak before a crowd, you feel awkward and do not know exactly what to do with your hands. You can hold on to the podium, if available, while speaking. If there is no podium, you can keep one hand in your pocket and use the other while you are speaking. Hands can also help you communicate better if used in the right manner, but excessive use of hands gives away your nervousness and fear. Observe how TV anchors and leading journalists manage their hands and try it out yourself. You can practice this in front of the mirror to get a better idea of how you look while speaking and if your hands are being used the right way.
Make Eye Contact
All good speakers balance their eye contact when speaking to a crowd. Some people spend the entirety of their speech looking down into their notes while there are others who, in an attempt to make eye contact, keep staring at a single person in the crowd. Balance your eye contact between looking down at your notes and casually glancing at a few people in the crowd. If you are speaking to a small crowd, you can look at each and every person from time to time. However, if it is a larger crowd, let your eyes rest somewhere at the end of the hall. Move your eyes into the crowd from time to time and glance at your notes to break the gaze.
Build your confidence and let it appear on yourself. A diffident person fiddles with his hands, appears uncomfortable with his body language. Practice well at home so that by the time you face the audience, you are comfortable about your body and yourself. The trick to being confident is accepting who you are. So what if you think your nose is a tad longer or your hair doesn’t look right? These small factors do not make you the person that you are. They are just parts of your physical person. Accept who you are and you will never feel conscious before anyone or any crowd again in your life. Be confident about your speech and the content you are about to speak on. Make the content interesting with examples or prepare an eye-catching presentation and you will have the crowd hooked on to every word you say.
Look Interested Yourself
Would you want to listen to a speech by a person who simply reads out from a sheet of paper and appears as if he could drop dead due to boredom? No you wouldn’t. Nobody would. Look lively and interested in the topic that you are speaking about. When you look interested, you draw in the interest of the crowd. Usually, people consider speeches and lectures boring, but you can change that concept with a really interesting speech. Let people see your excitement regarding the subject and they will feel more interested in what you have to say.
Sense of Humour Helps
So what if there is a slip up during the speech? You are human and you are allowed to make mistakes. The problem is that many people think that when they step out to deliver a speech, they should not and cannot falter. However, being humans we are prone to make mistakes. So if you make a mistake while on stage, laugh it off and give your audience an opportunity to laugh with you. A few good jokes will have the audience feel lighter and they will be more interested in what you have to say. You will notice that some of the best speakers of our country have a fabulous sense of humour and this is probably why they are so popular. But not everyone can carry off humour well; to be on the safe side, use it tactically and sparingly.
Keep It Simple
Do not throw in big words and jargon just because you think they sound impressive. On the contrary, they are the major contributors for bloopers during a speech. Keep your speech as simple as possible, use the simplest words and phrases and simple examples to illustrate your point. Also, rehearse your speech well but do not blindly mug it up. Cramming up content will take you back to the day in school when you forgot your lines in the recitation competition in front of the entire school! Understand the contents of the subject and speak your mind.
Besides these points, be positive and be yourself. A good speaker is one that brings out his personality and uniqueness through his presentation and speech. Of course all this takes years of practice, so start now!