Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images
Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images
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It’s said the people fear public speaking more than death. That’s pretty serious.

Have you ever wondered why they feel that way? In almost all cases it’s a fear of making a fool of yourself in front of a room full of people.

We imagine the worst but it rarely ever happens.

The More You Do The Better You Get

But how do you get to that better part? Here are some things that might help you out when you are asked to make a speech.

  • Prepare: Lay your thoughts out in sequence. One leads to the next and the next and so on. If you go in all directions how do you expect your audience to follow you? The better prepared you are the easier the experience will be.
  • Emotion: I’m not talking about being overly dramatic. I’m talking about making your audience feel something. There’s an old saying, “They won’t remember what you did or what you said. All they’ll remember is how you made them feel.”
  • Structure: “Tell them what you’re going to tell em, — tell em, — then tell em what you told em.”
  • Believe: If you’re not passionate about what you’re talking about how can I be. Again we are not talking about drama. There’s a difference.
  • It’s Not About You: It’s not you it’s your message that’s important to the listener. Otherwise you could just read the phonebook.
  • Be Careful With Humor: If you are truly funny go for it. Otherwise an unexpected joke from someone with no history of humor might make people wonder if they are supposed to laugh or not. Then everyone is uncomfortable.
  • Use PowerPoint To Keep You On Track: I prefer one thought per slide rather than many points on one slide. It’s a constantly changing visual for the audience. In a 90-minute talk I can go through 140 slides and still have time for Q and A.
  • Don’t Be Afraid To Use Notes: Nothing wrong with notecards, sheets of paper or other things to remind you of thoughts you want to be sure and include.
  • Statistics: To many will bore your audiences. Keep them brief and use them to prove your points as you go through your talk.

Some Final Thoughts

Practice, practice and practice. Speak out loud so you can hear yourself. Practice in front of a full-length mirror if possible and check your posture and mannerisms.

Being comfortable with yourself is the first step to getting over your fears. Be confident in what you are saying and thinking.

Audiences want you to succeed. They want to hear what you have to say.

They aren’t going to throw tomatoes at you, or boo you, or heckle you. Be yourself, but be the best yourself you can be.