When it comes to the art of public speaking, most individuals fear it more than death itself. According to Statistic Brain Research Institute, glossophobia – that is, the fear of public speaking – tops the list of top ten phobias, with the fear of death and spiders trailing behind it.
We’ve all experienced that dreadful, anxiety-ridden pre-speech state. You’re sweating profusely, experiencing a bit of nausea and low-key trembling like there’s no tomorrow. Well, it’s time to leave those public speaking woes behind.
Below is a compilation of tips to ensure a seamless, A+ speech as told from a communication student who has undergone one too many speeches.
Practice, practice and oh yeah, more practice
You may feel ridiculous talking to yourself, but practicing your speech out loud and establishing that familiarity with your own voice ultimately goes a long way. The cliché “practice makes perfect” is cliché for a reason. Dancers and musicians must continually practice before their gigs, and actors must practice lines for their roles – the same principle applies for delivering a speech.
Establish familiarity with your material
Know the topic you’re presenting about from front to back. Establishing working knowledge of your topic (as opposed to having your eyes glued to note cards) will result in less fumbles during the speech. It’s much easier to talk about things you actually know about as opposed to something you’re not quite sure about, right?
Employ breathing exercises prior to your speech AND allow yourself to breath during the speech
Inhale, exhale. Repeat until your heart rate calms from the weathered storm that is speech anxiety. And remember to allow yourself to make pauses during your speech! Do not plow through the thing at 80 miles per hour; speak in a means similar to that of a friendly conversation but with much more formality, of course. Breathe, child, breathe. Oxygen is your friend.
Envision a successful speech
OK, this may sound totally cheesy but it pertains to the power of visualization. As someone who has undergone this practice many times, I guarantee that it yields effective results. It was Aristotle who, in reference to the importance of visualization for the soul, wrote these words:
“The reasoning mind thinks its ideas in the form of images; and as the mind determines the objects it should pursue
or avoid in terms of these images, even in the absence of sensation, so it is stimulated to action when occupied with them.”
The power of visualization is not only applicable to effective speeches, but life in general. Envision a successful life for yourself, dammit!
Get a good night’s sleep
I cannot believe I almost left out this last point. Incorporate a solid, seven to eight hour night’s sleep prior to the day of your speech. The same reasoning for adequate sleep before exams holds true for public speaking. Allow yourself sufficient rest at night for more alert and functioning brain work the next day.