Taking the Stress Out of Public Speaking

Public speaking is a talent considered vital for having a successful career and achieving your goals. Whether you're speaking in front of a few people or an audience with hundreds of people, the skills of public speaking are applicable to both.  Often times interviews, whether for college or a job may involve interviewing with two or more people at once and being able to speak comfortably in front of them can greatly improve your odds.  Unfortunately for many people, public speaking is very stressful and knowing how to deal with that stress is important.  Let's review some ways to reduce stress before speaking in front of others.

  • Preparation: It is far easier to speak comfortably in front of others if you have a deep understanding of your topic.  This means doing your research thoroughly and knowing everything you possibly can.  After you've collected all the information, review it and think about it's not in front of you.  Make thinking about it as natural as thinking about what you will eat later.  Practice speaking in front of friends and family before going in front of strangers.  Recording yourself is a good way of seeing if you have any embarrassing habits which you need to correct beforehand.

  • Organization: Have your material in a format that is easily understandable to your audience and which will allow your speaking to flow naturally. 

  • Bring Confidence From the Start: Confidence sets the tone for your presentation and will help to capture your audience from the get-go.  If you begin with energy and enthusiasm people will sit up and take notice.  They will want to hear what you have to say, but you have to project that.  If you enter speaking softly and seeming unsure, lots of people will quickly turn off and stop paying attention.

  • Sign Posting (Making Your Points Clear): After introducing the topic to your audience, make sure your key points or arguments are well stated and clear before proceeding.  This allows the audience to understand your platform and shows them where you're coming from and where you're trying to go.

  • Strong Evidence: It is paramount to have precise, logical evidence to support your ideas and/or arguments.  Be sure to connect each piece of evidence back to the argument and show how it supports what you're saying.  Ensure the information is understandable to the audience and don't use superfluous language because that can lose your audience's attention.

  • Close Strongly: Briefly rephrase your original ideas, connect them to your supporting evidence and then move to your conclusions.  Remember, these final words are what leave the lasting impression on the audience, so make them count.  Whether it's with a call to action or a new way of thinking about a topic, give your audience a clear direction and use powerful language that energizes them.

Ivy Gurukul helps students improve their public speaking skills. Click to learn more or call 609-705-5018 to schedule a free trial class.