What Students Must Know About Public Speaking
At our recent Health Conference, many of the students were impressed by how well some of our keynote speakers did in presenting their information. Some of the students approached many of the faculty to discuss how much they enjoyed their presentations and how they wish they could do the same. Of course, some said they could never get in front of so many people because they are afraid to do so which is why we decided to put together a simple outline for you to understand what it takes to be a good speaker.
Fear Of Public Speaking
The fear of public speaking is a long-standing and grounded fear in most people worldwide. According to major studies, it is actually the number one fear, topping even death (which ranked at number two). The mere mention of public speaking can cause sweaty palms for some, while for others it can actually take the form of a medical condition known as glossophobia, in which there is such a fear of public speaking that any more than casual conversation can make a speaker “freeze up”.
The Fear Never Goes Away Entirely
While the fear of public speaking can sometimes never be conquered, there are ways to make it easier. We recently interviewed the founder of Keynote Speakers and he provided us some insights for students. Try following these tips the next time a public presentation is called for:
- Rehearse, Rehearse, Rehearse. It’s fine to think that the presentation is "down pat," as the saying goes, but speaking publicly causes stress, which in turn causes forgetfulness. Make sure to rehearse multiple times before the presentation.
- Speak with confidence. Speak in a strong, clear voice. Be commanding on the subject. People have gathered or come to the presentation because the speaker is supposed to know what he or she is talking about. No one will listen for long to a thin or mumbling voice.
- Make a mistake? Don’t stop! Keeping the flow going, even during a stumble or small pause in mid-sentence, is paramount. If the presentation has been researched and rehearsed, big stumbles are less likely to happen. If a stumble happens, take a deep breath, and avoid a deer-in-the-headlights look. Keep going, and more than likely no one will know anything is wrong.
- Speakers need breaks, too. Have an eight-hour meeting or presentation scheduled? Don’t forget water and bathroom breaks. Unless the speaking involves being in front of a jury, adults need at least 5 to 10 minutes every hour to process any information they have received. Time to get up and stretch the legs doesn’t hurt either.
- Be Prepared. The century-old motto of the Boy Scouts serves just as well in other aspects of life. No one will pay much heed to a speaker that runs in looking frazzled and out of place, five minutes late, unfamiliar with the equipment being used or sorting through sheaf after sheaf of notes. Prepare everything, down to the last detail, before walking into the presentation area.
Don’t Forget the Details of Public Speaking
Whether someone is a seasoned veteran of public speaking or a first-timer looking to make an impression, a warm smile, a firm handshake, and a positive attitude can go a long way towards a memorable presentation. Many of the top leadership speakers have suggested that you even interact with the audience before your speech as this can help you become comfortable with them which can help you ease your nerves.
Plan ahead, rehearse the presentation, and speak confidently – the presentation will practically run itself!