The fear of public speaking and giving presentations is one of the most common fears people have. Knowing that most people have the same fear as you can be reassuring but not necessarily helpful in overcoming it.
Shaking, sweating, stomachache, rapid heartbeat, dry mouth, and dizziness are all signs of speech anxiety that come with the fear of public speaking.
It is never a fun experience to go through these feelings, and what is more serious is that it can cause grievous consequences that might be more difficult to deal with after.
We can’t argue that learning how to tackle this fear can be crucial for a better life. Knowing how to deliver a presentation, communicating your pitch, and voicing your thoughts and ideas can open many doors for a successful life, both personally and professionally.
Fortunately, there are many effective methods and steps you can adopt that will help you calm your nerves, be more confident, and improve your public speaking and presentation skills.
Study the audience
Before you even start preparing for your presentation and public speech, you should do your research about the type of audience you are delivering your presentation to.
If your audience is classmates and teachers, you have to ask yourself whether you have a close relationship with them so you can use that to your advantage. If they are your employer and co-workers and if they have a sense of humor or highly professional and straightforward.
Identifying your public and learning more about them can help you build a personalized presentation, which will let you be more in control of your performance.
Be passionate, enthusiastic, and energetic
The number one rule of giving a good presentation and enhance your public speaking is to choose a topic that you are genuinely interested in and like.
Talking about the subjects that you like will help you be more passionate and enthusiastic in your speech which will encourage the audience to be more engaged with you.
Being passionate about the topic of your presentation can also help you be more confident in the material you are presenting. Not only that but it can also help you transform your nervousness into excitement.
Humor can be a very important element to use in your presentation in order to grab the audience’s attention, break the ice, ease the tension and any nervousness you still have left and also help you be more connected to the audience.
However, if you want to use humor in your presentation make sure to not make it stand-up and use light-related jokes. You should also avoid sarcasm and joking about your credibility so that your presentation can still be taken seriously.
A long presentation that is packed with condensed information might end up being boring and uninteresting. Don’t be afraid to use humor in your speech to make your presentation interesting unique and unforgettable.
Highlight your main points
You never want your audience to come out of your presentation with no concrete ideas and messages. Before you start your presentation, it is crucial to highlight the main points that you want your audience to take from your speech.
To achieve that you can make a list of everything you want to talk about while highlighting the important points. These important points should naturally get more focus and attention and for that, you can use examples and personal stories to illustrate them better.
By the end of your presentation make sure to mention the main points again in a briefly summarized conclusion that the audience can leave with.
Engage with the audience
Having a presentation that is packed with information can be boring, and so does a presentation that is one-sided. When giving a presentation always remember to engage your audience so you can help them feel more welcomed and involved.
You can make that happen either by asking the audience questions about their knowledge of the material you are delivering and by being open to any questions from the audience even during the presentation.
An engaged audience is a good sign of your presentation going well because it means that the audience is focused and interested.
Body language is very important even in our day-to-day events, it can either make or break the connection we have with the people we are talking to during a conversation or when we are giving a presentation.
Eye contact is a vital body language that everyone should pay attention to when giving a presentation. It is important to distribute your vision through all the audience and not focus on looking at just a few people because it can make the others feel neglected and they can fast become uninterested.
Your posture is also important because it can reveal how confident you are in giving the presentation. Remember to relax your shoulders, don’t clench your fists, do not stay in the same place and walk from time to time, make clear hand gestures, and make sure you are not speaking too soft or too loud by practicing beforehand.
PowerPoint can be the element that will either make your presentation successful or fail miserably, therefore it is important to take your time to make the perfect PowerPoint for your presentations.
While making a PowerPoint for your material you need to keep some points in your mind. Keep your slides shorts and to the point, never read from the slides because they are designed for the audience to keep track of what you are talking about, not for you to read, choose a classic font so it is not so distracting, don’t use bright colors, instead use either soft colors or dark colors with contrast, use simple, understandable diagrams and tables.
Another tip to overcome the fear of public speaking when giving your presentation is to visualize beforehand everything from how your presentation will start, how it will go, and how it will end, as well as the feedback you might get from the audience.
However, when visualizing the situation, remember to keep it positive. Avoid thinking negative thoughts such as “I might fail”, “the audience will be bored”, “I will forget what to say”.
Instead, think about the positive outcome to build your confidence and repeat affirmations such as “I am ready to deliver a great prepared presentation”, “The audience will enjoy my presentation and it will end successfully”, “I will have positive feedback”.
Of course, practicing is essential in order to have a smooth presentation. It can help you be more confident about the material and the points you are presenting and can also help you be familiar with presenting it.
You can either practice your presentation in front of your mirror, or your friends so they can also give you their feedback and advice on what to keep and what to change.
Remember to also presume the audience’s questions and prepare answers for them so you can avoid being confused and be more confident and prepared instead.