Public speaking is not easy. Some people have such a great fear of speaking in front of a large audience that it is considered a phobia. But for most people, public speaking can get better with practice.
Seeing confident speakers on stage may sometimes make you wonder what you could do to present flawlessly like them. The truth is, it is probably not their first time – and they’ve done this many times to get to the level they are at.
There are some things you learn through repeated practice, like becoming more confident. But what do you do if you have an upcoming speech next week? The training room rental has been booked, and you are expected to deliver, but you haven’t spoken in front of an audience so huge before.
The good news is, there are some tips for public speaking that you can immediately put into practice to make you sound more confident and fluent. Here are the tips you can pick up straightaway:
Keep to the topic
If you have been appointed to speak at a seminar or workshop, people probably selected you because they believe you have something valuable to share about the topic. So, don’t disappoint your attendees by veering off-topic! A little segue is permissible if you have an interesting anecdote to share – but this should eventually also tie in to your topic of the day, for example, to illustrate a point.
Going out-of-point makes the audience lose interest and become confused. Hence, it is best to have a content outline or script on hand so that you stick to it and share only what is relevant.
Engage the audience
The best speakers are not only knowledgeable and confident speakers, but they can also command the attention of their audience. They do so by having a good speaking voice – not one that is monotonous – but one that puts emphasis where it is warranted, and contains flow and emotions.
Speakers that audiences love also know how to interact with the audience. It could be as simple as directly asking the audience a question, or finding ways to make the topic relatable to the attendees. Audience interaction keeps people on their toes, and often, the unplanned nature of these interactions make them the most memorable aspects of a presentation.
Develop a natural speaking voice
The pressure of presenting to a large crowd can make people speak in ways they don’t usually do. A common example is lapsing into a different accent that comes off as unnatural, stilted, or forced.
While it is important that you adjust your accent to be understandable by your audience, it does not necessitate you to put on a false front. Being uncomfortable with an accent will show through, and can give off the impression of you being pretentious or poor at speaking.
If you find a need to calibrate your accent to a more standard one while speaking on stage, you should make sure to get ample practice first before standing in front of an audience. Presenting to yourself in the mirror or recording yourself are some great ways to monitor your speaking accent.
Take note of body language
Communication does not entirely take place through what you say – it is also in your gestures and body language. If you find yourself fidgeting a lot while you speak, be aware that this may be interpreted as a sign of nervousness or lack of confidence. Instead, use gestures in a measured manner to facilitate the direction and emphasis of your speech.
Eye contact is also important when speaking in a public setting. It helps you connect with your audience, showing sincerity and confidence. If you have a script, try not to rely on it, but make it a point to look at your audience often.
These tips will help you on your way to becoming a better public speaker. If you find it tough to get it all right on the first try, not to worry – it comes more naturally with practice! Before the actual event, it might also help to arrive early at the event venue to get yourself comfortable. Enquire with the organisers to see if the function room rental in Singapore is available early for you to set up your gear and get some practice.
With that, all the best to you in your upcoming presentation!