Don't Let the Audience See You Sweat

Public speaking can be a stressful and daunting task, no matter what industry you work in. Many of us have taken a speech class in college or a speech seminar at work, but public speaking really comes down to one thing: confidence. You may have heard the age-old points to “imagine the audience naked” or “focus on one specific point in the room”, but speeches are most easily conquered by confidence.

Confidence translates easily into your speech by first knowing your audience. You have to be aware of who you are talking to. Put yourself in their shoes. What would you want to hear if you were in the audience? The audience wants to know what information you can tell them that will help them in other endeavors. Keep your speech focused and to the point for your sake, and for your audience’s sake.

Being mentally prepared for your speech is important, but being physically prepared is just as crucial. Anything that can make you feel physically good will make you feel better about your speech. Start your day off right; eat a good breakfast, take your vitamins and go for a walk.

Get rid of the classic “like”, “umm” and “uhh”s that can so often plague your speeches. These words are not only irritating for your audience to listen to, but they can cause you to lose your train of thought.  Reducing the frequency of these words can make your speech more clear and make it sound better overall.

Of course, don’t forget the basic steps of public speaking. Prepare, prepare, prepare! Know your facts, be ready to answer questions and take deep breaths! Realizing the fact that half the people in the audience are just as nervous as you about public speaking will put your mind at ease.

What are some of your tips for public speaking?

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  • Good article!

    A good speaker can really move mountains.

  • I agree with your points about preparation. Even if you don't want to read a speech or presentation, I feel you should always have notes or something to refer to that you have prepared ahead of time.

  • I sometimes look for someone in the audience I know or can comfortably make eye contact with, and then speak as if I talking only to that person.

    BTW, if you are giving a speech In a nudist colony, do you imagine them in clothes?

  • Thanks Richard! And John, well said. If I don't have notes, my train of thought in a speech can be all over the place.

    Aquinas--great tip! I used to get nervous knowing I had a friend in the audience, but now it's become helpful. And funny re: nudist colony...suppose you're right!

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