If you are a professional speaker, or do any public speaking at all, then this article is for you. Karen Susman, Speaker/Author, Coach, lends her expertise with 8 tips to help even the novice take the edge off the dreaded stage fright.
Oh m’gawd. You’re about to give a speech. Your life flashes before your eyes. You knew weeks ago you were going to make this speech. You prepared, you paced, you practiced. A loud duet of your heart beating in time with your knees knocking surely can be heard by all. The master of ceremonies is calling your name. Get a grip. Edge forward on your seat and remember these tips as you rise to the sound of thunderous applause.
- Be prepared. Don’t wing it. Know your topic. Know your audience. Know your A/V equipment. Memorize your introduction and your conclusion. Then you can get started smoothly and end dynamically.
- Look your best. Have a speaking outfit that you know works. Dress one step better than your audience. Test your suit before you speak. Can you move your arms? Is your jacket straining over the holiday pounds? Is there an intricate scarf, cape wrap thingy that looks great unless you exhale? Is your tie long enough? Are those new wing tips clipping your flight and your big toe? Does your blouse reveal you shop at Victoria’s Secret? Your clothes shouldn’t speak louder than you do.
- Pause before you begin. At the podium, face your audience and make eye contact. Command their attention and then jump right into your remarks.
- Be healthy. Rest, eating light and exercise help you be your best. Energy is a powerful speaking tool. No booze. Even though Bloody Mary’s are loaded with Vitamin C, stick with water.
- Mingle. Talk to the entering audience. You’ll make allies; feel more at home and learn interesting tidbits you can use to personalize your presentation. Spot friendly faces at quadrants around the room.
- Move. Break the tension by moving on stage. You’ll be more expressive and you’ll add energy to your voice.
- Drink. This doesn’t contradict #4. Have a glass of lukewarm water to sip before and during your speech. Stress dries out your mouth and throat. A dry mouth is stressful. Pausing to take a sip of water is always permissible. Pausing allows you to wet your whistle, inhale and look at your notes. No one will think you’ve lost it when you take a sip of water.
- Speak often. It’s much easier to speak often than once in a while. When you speak often, you get more comfortable and you can see what material works and what doesn’t. When you speak often, you get a rhythm or timing going that adds the entertainment factor to your remarks. How do you speak often? Toastmasters is one way. Another way is to contact service clubs to offer your twenty-minute program on a helpful topic.
You do have a twenty-minute program, don’t you?
Being a confident speaker is vital for career success. “But my stage fright,” you quake. Get over it.
Karen Susman, Speaker/Author/Coach, works with organizations and individuals that want to maximize their performance and quality of life. Check out her free tips and articles at www.karensusman.com. Karen can be reached at 1-888-678-8818 or [email protected].