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How to be a better public speaker

How To Be A Better Public Speaker | 4 Excellent Tips

I’ve lost count of the number of clients who have come to me with a very specific issue — they have to speak publicly, whether it’s at a conference or just at a small meeting, or even a job interview. But all of these people had the same concern. They were nervous, unconfident, and worried about screwing it up.

It never came as a surprise to me when someone told me they were anxious about public speaking. It’s a universal phobia that affects nearly all of us; studies show that 75% of the world population has a fear of public speaking.

The question, then, is how to combat that fear and anxiety to be a better public speaker. Luckily, over the years as a career coach I’ve found some great tricks that will help you overcome that dreaded pit-in-the-stomach feeling that comes when you realize you need to speak in front of a group of people.

One of the best ways to ease your public speaking anxiety is to practice your speech. It’ll leave you more prepared and used to saying the words, and you’ll be less nervous knowing that you’ve done it before.

I highly recommend you record your practice sessions, so you can go back and listen and/or watch yourself. This will help you figure out pacing, timing, body language, and the use of any filler words. Which reminds me…

Be aware of body language and filler words
We all tend to use nervous gestures and words when we’re anxious, and sometimes we don’t even know it. That’s why recording yourself and practicing is so important. It will help you spot those moments that you might otherwise be unaware of, but that the audience will definitely notice.

When you’re practicing, try to be aware of how you use your body and voice when speaking. Are you fidgeting with your hands, or your clothes? Are you tense, slouching, or rocking back and forth? Are you using any filler words, such as “um” or “like”? Being aware of these nervous “tics” when practicing will help you get rid of them before the big day.

Additionally, think about what you want to do on the day. If you’ll be on a stage, you don’t want to hide behind a podium. And making eye contact with your audience is a great way to keep them engaged!

Focus on your breathing
Studies show that breath work is amazing at reducing stress and anxiety, and increasing relaxation. And you definitely would rather feel relaxed than nervous! Try to incorporate breathing exercises before you practice your speech, and right before you go on the day of.

One of my favorite breathing exercises is the 3-2-4 method. Breathe in through your nose for three seconds, hold for two, and breathe out through your mouth for four. Do this as many times as you need until you feel relaxed and ready to take on your speech!

Invest in help
If you really struggle with public speaking, there’s no shame in enlisting professional help. There are some amazing classes you can take — Universities are a great resource, as are online courses such as Udemy. You can also look into coaching to help you out.

Public speaking isn’t an inherent talent; it’s a skill that needs practice. The more you work on it, the better you’ll be, and the easier your nerves will melt away. Don’t let your fear of public speaking hold you back from achieving great things — this is something you can do, and do well, as long as you put the effort in!

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