Public speaking lets you connect to your target audience, reach more people, and become recognized as an expert in your industry, but standing in front of a crowd can be terrifying for many people. Don’t miss out on this effective marketing strategy for your business just because you get stage fright. Everything from breathing techniques to your speech content can help you conquer those fears and build your public speaking skills.
Start with speech content that is meaningful to you and also tailored to your audience. When you talk about your own stories or experiences, you feel at ease, because you know the stories well and you get excited about them. Sharing personal experiences that are relevant to people watching your speech also helps you better connect to the audience. The positive feedback you get from an engaged audience helps you feel more confident in what you’re saying.
Don’t underestimate the importance of practice. Even if you’re sharing your personal stories, practicing helps you deliver the information in a polished way. You also feel more comfortable with the content, so you can get back on track if you veer off course during your speech. If you’re already nervous, consider skipping slideshows or other technology to avoid potential problems that can psych you out during the speech. If you need to use technology, practice your speech with it, so you feel comfortable doing both simultaneously.
For more general practice giving speeches, consider joining Toastmasters. The international organization focuses on developing communication and leadership skills. It’s a positive environment where you can practice public speaking and get feedback from peers. It’s also a great way to network.
Once your speech content and delivery are solid, focus on calming your nerves. Breathing is an easy way to keep yourself calm and pace your delivery. Focus on each breath. Take several deep breaths as you prepare to take stage. Find a comfortable, calm breathing rhythm, and maintain it throughout the speech to keep your delivery on pace.
Positive self-talk and visualization help build up your confidence. Instead of telling yourself you’re a horrible public speaker, remind yourself that it is a skill you can learn just like you mastered your industry. With practice, you can conquer public speaking engagements and spread the word about your company.