Whether you are a veteran or novice, public speaking can be a stressful experience. Many people don’t like public speaking, but I really enjoy it. The feeling of having all attention on me is fun and exhilarating. If you don’t like public speaking, I hope this listicle will change your mind. I have learned many tricks to giving speeches throughout my career. Listed below are seven tips that I have mastered through personal experience on how to combat nervousness and make your speech more credible, and what to wear and more.
#1 Use quotes in your speeches
Adding quotes from respected and well know sources will make your speech more interesting, verifiable, and persuasive. Adding quotes is also a great way to supplement your speech if you are talking about a topic you are not very familiar with. You will not want to add too many quotes to your speech. Two to three quotes per speech is usually a good number, although the length of the speech may allow for more, or less.
#2 Practice your speech
When practicing your speech, you will want to practice speaking slowly and clearly. People tend to speak faster than they normally would when they’re nervous, so it will be beneficial to you if you can get used to speaking slow if you get anxious. Practicing in front of a fake audience, such as a friend, pet, or mirror, can also help you combat nervousness. Practicing your speech to a timer is also helpful if you are under a time requirement or time restraint.
#3 Use jokes
Use jokes or sarcastic comments to entertain and engage your audience. You don’t want to bore your audience, so adding a joke here and there will help keep their attention. Jokes can also be used to lighten the mood if your speech has sad parts. You don’t want to completely depress your audience, so tell a joke to keep the mood from getting too heavy. Also, if you appear to be fun and charismatic your speech will be more persuasive.
#4 Dress for the occasion
What you are wearing strongly contributes to how your audience will perceive you. Dressing nice will show that you care about your appearance and the event that you are attending. In a business setting you should wear brightly colored clothes and big jewelry to attract attention to yourself. This is especially helpful to women because it will help them get noticed and more likely to be promoted, and break the glass ceiling. You will also want to avoid colors that show sweat stains.
#5 Body language
Avoid touching and crossing your arms, and avoid touching your neck and face. Crossing your arms or holding your elbow is defensive body language, and will show the people in your audience that you are nervous. Touching the neck or face is a strong indicator that a person is distressed. Keep your arms at your sides, on your hips, or behind your back. Standing with your hands on your hips and your feet slightly apart, also known as “the Superman pose”, will help to boost your confidence. You must also have good posture. Slouching will make you look tired and less confident.
Control your breathing if your heart rate is high. Slow deep breathing will help you get rid of the symptoms of an adrenalin rush. If your mouth gets dry when you are nervous bring water with you. If your hands are shaking, try not to hold your speech notes. This will make the shaking more obvious because the papers are also shaking. Also, if you mess up, joke about it to relieve tension.
#7 Bring speech notes
Don’t read your speech word for word from a paper. Doing this will make your voice sound monotonous. Bullet points are much easier to read, and as a result you will be less likely to skip lines, or trip on your words. If you have a PowerPoint to go with your speech, don’t put your entire speech on the slides. If the audience is hearing you say it, they don’t need to read it again from the PowerPoint.
If you keep these tips in mind while you are writing and delivering your speech, it will definitely add some extra quality to it. Some of these techniques might not work for everyone, so practice a lot and find what works best for you.