Standing up and giving a speech to a room full of people is a terrifying thought for many, even if it is in front of our colleagues. But public speaking is another ballgame altogether. Entrepreneurs constantly need to engage in workshops, presentations and pitches as a way to network and propagate their ideas. Fortunately, there are a few things that we can do to not only overcome that fear, but also to become a respected public speaker.
1. How do I begin my speech?
Unless you are a famous stand-up comedian, a roast master, or well-versed with both humour and your audience, don’t even think about starting with a joke. Pulling off a single joke is a lot harder than it looks. Poking fun at yourself once in a while is fine, but don’t let others walk all over you. Start with a bang, like an interesting story that will help build a rapport with your audience.
2. Should I learn my speech by heart?
You may think that the best way to give a flawless speech is to memorize the content word-for-word. But trying that can create a lot of problems for speakers. Memorization not only lends itself to sounding over-rehearsed (aka not natural), but also, if your mind goes blank at any point during the presentation, you will lose your place and potentially create an awkward silence. Or worse, start to panic. So, learn to memorize concepts than the content itself.
3. Should I watch others giving speeches?
No matter how intimidating it sounds, it’s good to listen to other speakers, even when you are nervous. You can watch the videos of renowned public speakers and get your learnings from them. You’ll get great ideas for your own presentations. When you attend workshops and conferences, make sure you listen to other speakers and the techniques they use.
4. How long should I talk for?
It all depends on your content. You don’t need to give all of your speech at once. Think of how you converse at a party, there is a natural give and take, pauses in thoughts. The same applies when you’re giving a speech. Have moments of quiet where you step back and let your audience contemplate and soak in what you just said and let them interact with you.
5. I’m nervous and scared even after all the preparation, what do I do?
Remember that the audience is actually rooting for you to succeed. People who fear public speaking when faced with a microphone and a crowd, usually wish they didn’t have to do it in the first place and would rather be dead. However, once you get the knack of it, it will be like a piece of cake for you. Remember to breathe and not push yourself, take your time, organize your thoughts and keep practicing.
Just breathe and enjoy your speech. At the end of your speech, be sure to thank the audience, the host and the company for listening to you. For more queries, comment below, we are happy to listen to you.