Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Tips for Public Speaking

One of the biggest fears that people have in life is public speaking. Getting in front of a large crowd and talking for several minutes can be really nerve-wracking, but here are 3 great tips to help you get through everything with less difficulty:

1.  Don’t memorize- When you are giving a speech one of the worst things that you can do is try to memorize it. The problem with memorizing your speech is that if you forget one of the lines it will throw off your flow and can be really distracting to the audience. In your mind you will be trying to remember exactly how you had it written down and this can be a real hiccup for some people. Instead write down topic points that you would like to cover in your speech that you can glance at.
2.  Time yourself beforehand- One of the toughest things that public speakers face is dealing with time constraints. With public speaking you never known when you’ll have to extend your speech longer than you anticipated or cut it short due to outside circumstances. To best get around this you should take the time to practice giving your speech beforehand and time yourself so that you have a rough idea of how long it will take you. Generally when you are speaking in front of an audience you will tend to talk a little faster than when you are rehearsing. With that in mind, it is a good idea to write down some extra speaking points just in case you feel like you are moving too quickly.
3.  Watch your hands- When you are speaking in public one of the things that you have to keep track of is your hands. You want to know where they are, what they are doing, and if they are adding or detracting from your presentation. While there is nothing wrong with some hand gesturing as you give your speech, too much gesturing can be distracting for listeners and can cause them to lose focus on the message that you are delivering. If you are playing with your pockets, fidgeting with a button on your shirt, or doing something else it may come across as a nervous habit and it can be really tough for the audience to focus on anything other than your hands. If you are at a podium when you are speaking then you can either hide your hands behind he podium, place them gently on top, or lightly grip the sides of the podium. If you are just standing in front of your audience then it is a good idea either to place your hands at your side and relax them so that they stay there, or keep your arms at your sides and bend your elbow which will allow you to motion with your hands a little but not too much 

Do these things and you should be good to go. Of course it will take time to become a pro at public speaking, but hang in there and you'll do fine. 

Micah writes for Peoria bankruptcy attorney, Benjamin Skinner. 

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