Public speaking can be pretty nerve-wracking. Some people can do it, but it doesn’t come easy to everybody. In fact, there are plenty of people who are terrified of it. But there are some tips that you can take to overcome that fear. Here are a few, taken from blogger and manager Mohamad Zaki:
It’s okay that you’re nervous: If you admit to the audience that you’re a bit nervous speaking to them, not only will they be more forgiving if you act nervous later on, but they’ll also like you more. The best way to do this is through a joke.
Redefine the audience: Generally speaking, this means changing how you view them. Rather than lecturers evaluating you, they could be long-lost friends you haven’t seen in years. This lets you maintain eye contact with them as you try to figure out where you’ve seen them before. This will make you look a lot more friendly.
Visual aids: No matter how descriptive you are, there are some things that visual aids can do that you simply can’t. Not only do visual aids enhance your performance, but they also take the pressure off of you.
Intentionally make mistakes: Did you know that George W. Bush would intentionally write stumbles in his speeches? It helped make him look more approachable. The idea behind this is to gain control of the audience by interacting with them. If you make a mistake, and then can turn it into a joke, that doesn’t take away from your presentation, but rather enhance it.
Speak to one person at a time: Even if you’re terrified of public speaking, you could be great at talking one-on-one. To overcome this, simply speak to one person at a time. When somebody asks a question, change your focus just to them, and answer the question as if you’re talking over a beer.
Get personal: When you speak or give a presentation, try to offer your personal thoughts on the issue. But make it look like these ideas are “just in” while you’re presenting, which will differentiate your presentation.
Play around: Have fun with the crowd. Try new ways to play with them and their emotions, so that you can give the best possible presentation. You’ll often yield some pretty interesting results.