Public speaking is the art of delivering a live presentation to a live audience in a structured, deliberate manner in order to inform, influence, or entertain them. What makes this so challenging? The live delivery. For many people, public speaking is as much fun as juggling rattlesnakes.
“According to most studies, people’s number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death,” quipped Jerry Seinfeld during a stand-up routine. “That means the average person, if you have to go to a funeral, you’re better off in the casket than doing the eulogy.”
Many people with public speaking fears admit they are less petrified of delivering the words in front of a group and more afraid of being negatively criticized by listeners.
No one (living or dead) want to be judged. Frightened or not, an increasing number of reluctant speakers are being called upon at work by their employers to deliver speeches about their areas of expertise. Panicking is not an option. Preparation is.
Many people throughout the world join Toastmasters International to pump up their public speaking skills. Toastmasters offers 10 Tips for Successful Public Speaking:
The best speeches include a clear, relevant message and a few great stories to illustrate it. You don’t need elaborate PowerPoint presentations and a suitcase of data. Focus on one theme. Create strong content and rein your speech in with a clear beginning, middle and end.
“Speeches are an inefficient form of communication,” says Nick Morgan, a Forbes contributor and author of Trust Me: Four Steps to Authenticity and Charisma. “People don’t remember much of what they hear, so focus and keep it simple.”
Most importantly, enjoy the experience. “The real Zen secret is to love what you’re doing in that moment,” says Morgan. “If you can relax and be happy about being there, the audience will feel that way, too.”
Be brave. No one knows you feel nervous until you decide to share the information with them – and there’s no reason to tell them. If you take the time to prepare well and practice, you will be equipped to deliver a powerful presentation.
What public speaking suggestions do you have to share?