We have all had that dream at least once in our lives. Standing in front of a group of people about to make a speech – only to find that you are naked.
Public speaking is one of the “trial-by-fire” experiences. You don’t know if you are good at it until you actually get up and do it. And even then, it takes practice to get comfortable with it. Even the most seasoned speaker will tell you at that at some stage during their “performance” they always get butterflies. For me, it’s the moment just before I get up to speak.
A few suggestions, which may help you understand the butterflies but not let it overwhelm you:
- Breathe – Taking deep breaths before and during your presentation will help calm your nerves
- Fake it – Even if you don’t feel 100% confident, act like you do. You can do this by smiling, by watching the cadence of your speaking speed and by watching for your own special tell-tale stress signs (like gripping the podium or brushing hair from your face).
- Eye-balling – If you are speaking to a small group, make sure you look at everyone in the room at some point. Don’t look down or shy away from someone’s gaze.
- Use your hands – Gesticulating can be distracting. But used properly it can also convey enthusiasm, confidence and passion, all of which are gold standards for public speaking.
- Tone it down – The fire-and-brimstone tone of voice is not always going to work in public speaking. Try a more warmer tone – calming, soothing and a little melodic. This will also convey a sense of confidence.
- Stop talking – Brevity is key. Don’t overcrowd your presentation with too many words. People stop listening when you overcomplicate something.
Here are some other articles on public speaking: