Public speaking is not something that everybody feels comfortable doing. Standing up in front of a large group of people can be terrifying to many. Because of the complexity of this problem, public speaking has become a topic that has been tackled by NLP gurus and motivational speakers alike.
However, even though numerous experts have spoken on the matter, there are still a couple of myths that many still believe in.
Only naturals make for good public speakers
To many, public speaking is an innate gift that only a limited number of people have. This could not be further from the truth. While some people feel more comfortable sharing their ideas to large groups of people, public speaking is a skill that you can learn.
Being nervous when you have to speak to others is something that even skilled professional speakers often have to manage. The key difference between a good speaker and an inexperienced one lays on how one chooses to manage his/her nerves. To feel confident before your audience, you have to channel that adrenaline rush and make your speech even more powerful.
Of course, doing so takes quite a lot of self-control, but it is something that you can master if you practice. This is why, it is often recommended that inexperienced or nervous speakers learn from the best.
Expert Sir Richard Branson argues that, a great way to calm your nerves before you go before an audience, is to feel confident in the message that you want to get across. So, instead of just winging it, be sure that you are well-practiced and that you don’t drink too much caffeine before you have to give your speech. Breathing exercises have also been proven to help speakers overcome their stage fright.
Today, there are plenty of resources that you can access and numerous courses that you can sign up for that can help you forget about your nerves and deliver beautiful speeches. Consider signing up for public speaking skills training or workshops, where you are given the opportunity to practice your skills in front of an audience and receive feedback from a qualified instructor. Additionally, there are a number of books from leading authors full of practical tips, techniques and guides to help you boost your skills and master the delivery of your performance.
You have to memorize your speech
Contrary to public belief, memorizing your speech word by word is not a key requirement when it comes to public speaking. Just imagine it. You are in front of your audience, but you cannot start your speech because you cannot remember the first line that you have written.
Instead of memorizing your speech, it is best that you master your content in a logical manner and that you deliver your arguments in an engaging way. At the end of the day, energy, vigor and enthusiasm are more important.
Even though practice makes perfect, over practicing can do more harm than good. When you focus too much on the words that you are saying, and not on the substance, you risk delivering a speech that is robotic and monotone.
To reach that sweet spot between having a good command of the material and being able to present it enthusiastically, asking from help from a speech coach is often recommended. Public speaking is, in many ways, similar to fishing. If you are a novice, you need to get as much help as necessary.
In the case of fishing, as an inexperienced angler, you can boost your chances of catching something by investing in a fish finder, here you can find some good recommendations, in the case of public speaking, a trainer can help you shape your speech and manners so that, at the end of the speech, you get the reaction that you’ve been waiting for.
Attire does not matter
Let’s be honest, we often feel comfortable and at ease in clothes that are not formal. However, stepping out on the stage in your favorite sweatpants just because you feel comfy in them is not the way to do it.
An important part of public speaking is the fact that you have to wear attire that matches that of the public that you are speaking to. If you speak in front of a group of people at a small startup, you can, of course, choose a more informal outfit. Still, if you have to stand before a large group of representatives from the financial sector, you have to show up wearing business attire.
Only humor can make you relatable
We live in a society that often looks at humor as the go-to strategy to take the pressure off. However, humor is not something that comes naturally to us all. Even more so, when you feel stressed out, you will probably not be able to deliver jokes as easily.
So, instead of opting for humor, you should engage your audience by starting with a personal anecdote, or by simply offering quality information.