Does the Thought of Speaking in Front of a Group Scare You?

If so, you’re not alone: studies show public speaking is one of the most common fears. Even though speaking in front of others can be intimidating, it can be much easier if you are properly prepared.

In this month’s blog, let me share with you some tips that will help you through your next public speaking experience:

Breathe!: This is important for two reasons. First off, your breath is the power behind the voice you need for public speaking. Breathing properly will allow your voice to come across as strong and confident. Secondly, breathing deeply can help you relax and stay focused.

Take a moment between major points to take a deep, relaxing breath.

Relax: Feeling nervous is normal and can even be motivating in some circumstances; however, many people experience anxiety to such a level that it interferes with their performance. To calm your nerves before speaking, take some time for yourself. Whenever possible, find a quiet place where you can be alone.

Don’t think about what it is you will say; instead, close your eyes, visualize a peaceful, calming scene, and take several deep breaths. Don’t focus on you the public speaker, focus on the message you want to deliver to your audience. You will feel much calmer as you begin to deliver your speech.

Practice, practice, practice: This is the number one rule of public speaking! If you are completely confident in what you are saying, you will feel far more comfortable once you are looking out at a sea of strangers.

Practice your presentation—in the car, on your lunch break, in the shower, wherever you can—until it becomes second nature.

Studies suggest that effective presentations are 38% your voice, 55% non-verbal communication, and only 7% your content. That means that you should spend even more time preparing your delivery than you do developing awesome content.

Watch the following video to hear Jayne Latz, President of Corporate Speech Solutions, give more great pointers for successful public speaking: 

Related: The Power of Persuasion: Mastering the Art of Effective Communication