Public speaking makes me very nervous. I had to do it a lot in the last couple of years for my Master Studies in Content Strategy. At work, I have to do it as well. I am honestly jealous of people who find it an easy task. I am a big fan of Late Night Shows. One of my favorite hosts is Stephen Colbert. He does it so well! It seems so effortless! For me, it is really not. In this post, I will give tips that can make this nerve-racking activity a bit easier.
Know your material
This tip seems obvious, but your tension level may also be related to how well you know the subject you are talking about.
Work from an Outline
Reading the text of a presentation breaks the connection you have with your audience and makes your presentation super boring to watch. If you followed the first tip and already know everything about the topic of the presentation, a piece of great advice is to work with a list of keywords points that will guide you through the performance.
Know the setup
Even if you are super prepared on the topic, any technical problem can make you anxious. Get to the place where you are going to talk in advance and make sure everything is working.
Don’t pretend to be someone else. You will build better trustworthiness if your personality shines through, and your audience will believe in what you have to say if they can see you as a real person.
One of my biggest challenges during a presentation is to slow down. It seems for me that, the faster I talk, the faster it’s over. Maybe it is true, but you want to pass on your knowledge to your audience and leave them with the impression that they have learned something from you, right? So make sure you pause once in a while and breath.
Make eye contact
Eye contact is an excellent way of making a connection with your audience and receiving instant feedback on how you are doing. If some people look confused, maybe you are speaking too fast. If someone is smiling, it gives you the confidence you need to keep going. By maintaining eye contact with the audience, you also retain the focus on you and your message.
Practice makes it perfect – not!
Perfection doesn’t exist, except for Beyonce, who is flawless. And after watching Homecoming, I know she also practices a lot! So the more you speak in public, the more confidence you will feel with this situation. So my final tip is: put yourself out there!