I attended a workshop on the art (or as the trainer might want to put it, Science) of public speaking some time back. The trainer talked about lots of techniques- from taking deep breaths to using tongue twisters to improve fluency.

Everybody seemed to like the session and looked super impressed. But at the end of the presentation, when the trainer asked who is all set to come on stage and take over, only one hand went up!

Yes, it is not easy to speak up in public. Especially when all eyes are on you. And one session is not enough to take that fear away. But the good news is, you are not alone. Statistics say 99% of population is afraid of public speaking!

So here are some public speaking tips that I find realistic and do-able:

  • Know your subject: If you are the expert of your topic, it would be easier to talk with conviction. And conviction gives you confidence.
  • Do not try to cover too many things: No audience ever complained about a presentation being too short! And to quote Winston Churchill, “A good speech (presentation) should be like a woman’s skirt; long enough to cover the subject and short enough to create interest.”
  • Put your audience at ease: Start with questions whose answers would be “yeah’s” to give you a boost of confidence. Or start with an activity. As much as it will help your audience to be at ease, it will give you time to get comfortable.

And of course, as the age old saying goes, “Practice makes a (wo)man perfect!” And if perfection is not what you are aiming for, then at least rehearse for IMPACT. A well-rehearsed presentation is sure to have a lasting impact.

And at the end of it remember, we are all in the same boat. If a colleague mocks at you today, it is going to be his/ her turn soon. :)

Posted by Advaiya

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