Every experienced speaker will tell you that the more you stand up and give speeches in front of an audience groups, the easier it gets but there’s a problem with this: if your fear of speaking in public prevents you from giving speeches then how can you get enough experience speaking to reduce your presentation nerves?
The solution is Practice.
The more you practice the easier it gets. That doesn’t mean that it won’t be scary or you won’t be nervous but practising can give you the confidence to know that despite the nerves you know your presentation.
The secret to practising your speech or presentation is to start practising early. If you only start practising the night before your presentation then you don’t need me to tell you how successful it’s going to be.
Once you have your first draft written then start practising. Practice often and every chance you get, practice everywhere you can because nowhere is a bad place to practice.
At home talk to the walls, to the chairs, to the kettle and to the toaster, get used to speaking your presentation out loud with no-one else hearing. When driving to work give your speech to the driver in front of you, everyone talks to themselves or sings in the car, you won’t look any different to anyone else. Talk to your cat, dog or hamster, see if you can get them excited about your topic.
Then when you’re ready to take your practice to the next level, give the talk to a friend or family member, someone that you feel comfortable with and don’t just give it one time, give it as many times as you can. Ask other friends, speak to more than one at a time. In order words practice, practice, practice until you’re sure that you know your presentation and you’ve become confident giving the presentation to people that you know. If possible try to practice in the room where you will be giving the presentation, this will make the environment familiar to you and so speaking there won’t be that scary either.
Practice is about eliminating reasons for you to be nervous or scared so if you want to reduce your speaking nerves and help guarantee that you will give a winning presentation then all you need to do is practice.
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image: Bart Everson (Flickr)