For Your Future Presentations
In the immediate future there isn’t much you can do to improve your speaking skill. But for presentations project in the next weeks, months and years, there are many ways you can eliminate nervousness and increase your confidence.
Treat it as a typical project, schedule your speaking when there are opportunities. Here are some suggested ways that you can approach.
- Join Toastmasters. This organization has been really helpful for myself in improving my public speaking. Not only does it provide a supportive environment with friends, but it offers detailed and constructive advice to improve on.
- Practice the Art of Pauses. Your audience needs pauses. Speakers who speed-talk for an hour aren’t likely to leave an impact on their audience. Boosting your confidence starts by becoming comfortable leaving silence. When you’re nervous, your instinct will be to fill any dead air with words. Resisting that urge over the long run makes you a more confident and competent speaker.
- Avoid the Powerpoint Crutch. Most people use Powerpoint as a way of directing attention away from them and onto a screen. While it may be less frightening to have the audience stare at your poorly worded bullet points, it destroys your speeches and lowers your speaking ability. Training yourself to speak without a “slideshow” forces you to become more entertaining and confident as a speaker.
- Work on Posture and Body Language. In Malcolm Gladwell’s book Blink, he points out studies where researchers discovered that moving their face into smiling or frowning positions actually made them feel differently. This has been reflected in other research and I believe it applies to your body language on stage. Adopting a confident stance and posture can take training to form as a habit, but it will eventually reduce your nervousness at the podium.
- Fail Often. I’ve made a few speeches that absolutely bombed. The jokes were met with silence and I didn’t get the results I intended. While you’d think these experiences would increase my nervousness, I’ve found doing them enough actually reduces it. When you realize that the worst that can happen isn’t that bad, it zaps your butterflies for good.
- Attend some professional speaking workshops, courses. The trainer will guide you on how to improve your speaking skill at a personal level. Course should include
– Do’s and Don’t to do in a speaking assignment.
– How to fight the fear devil in you
– How to fly the butterflies in your stomach in formation
– How to gestures with impact
– And more.
Once you had fulfill any of the above steps, you should be able to reduce some of the speaking stress.