Tips for Public Speaking

Public speaking. Two words that often evoke this response:

Okay, all jokes aside, getting in front of crowds is something I don’t think I’ll ever get 100% used to. At least I’m not alone. If you’re someone who can take on public speaking with complete confidence, I applaud you. Seriously. But if you’re not, don’t worry. Here are some tips that might be helpful!

The Planning Stages

Start early

One of the best tricks to de-stress when it comes to presentations is to start planning early. I’ve made the mistake of starting a couple of days in advance, and it tends to take up all my thoughts (which only induces more anxiety). The more I realized how little time I had and how much work I had to do, the more I panicked. So, I would recommend giving yourself at least a week to brainstorm, plan, and practice. This way, your work is spread out and you have plenty of time to prepare.

Practice, practice, practice.

This may be THE most important tip. You know what they say… Practice makes perfect. If you think you might forget what to say, you might need to practice a little more. However, there are times when you can be too rehearsed. There isn’t an exact science on how much to practice. Keep going until you’re comfortable but stop before you totally memorize what you’re saying (memorization can lead to a monotonous tone).

           

Before the Presentation

Dress for success

Even if the presentation doesn’t require a certain dress code, it’s always a good confidence boost when you like what you’re wearing. You might not need to be super fancy; just don’t go in your sweats (I know, no fun). By wearing a nice outfit, you might just feel a little bit better.

Power pose

Alright, unless you can find an empty space, prepare to look a little silly. An easy trick to boost confidence is to hold a power pose. Think of your favorite superhero or channel your inner Beyoncé and hold that pose for a couple of minutes. This causes you to stand confidently and in turn makes you feel more confident. Hold your head high; you’re going to crush it. (For an added bonus, visualize yourself successfully completing your presentation. It works wonders.)

Motivational music

Psst—you should go check out our chapter’s articles with music recommendations… It might be helpful for this next tip! On a more serious note (pun intended), having a motivational playlist is a great way to get pumped up for anything. Sometimes you’ve got to blast that one song and dance around the room. Even if you don’t feel a rush of confidence, at least you’ve taken your mind off the situation for a few minutes.

           

During the Presentation

Fake it till you make it

Most of the time, the people who seem confident with public speaking probably don’t feel it. Yet again I have to mention those rare cases who radiate confidence (I’m still jealous). However, a lot of people are probably faking their confidence, and clearly it works. You may be sweating bullets, but they don’t have to know. Fake it till you make it. Remember, you have the job of providing people with information that they want/need to know.

Breathe.

Okay, I know I said practicing was the most important thing, but this is so so important. Take a deep breath before starting. You’re prepared, and you’re going to be great. This breath should help you calm down a little bit, but it might also help you slow down during the presentation. When you catch yourself out of breath because of nerves and/or talking really fast, take another breath. This will help you pace yourself and recollect. Before you know it, you’ll be at the end of the presentation.

 

One more thing: You’ve totally got this.

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