I think most of you will agree with me that we all get nervous when we have to speak in front of a crowd. Public speaking should be something that I’m comfortable doing, being a Communications student and all, but I’m honestly just horrible at it. I try to avoid giving presentations any chance I get. However, sometimes it’s part of a course, or it’s required at your job, and you cannot run away from it forever.
Fortunately for me, because I’m a Communications student, I have picked up some tips and tricks on public speaking. A lot of these tips are from a guest speaker that I’ve had recently in my class: Dr. Patrick Pennefather, who is a faculty member at the Master of Digital Media Program. Having him give a lecture on how to nail a presentation was so interesting that I have to share with you guys some of the tips that I’ve learned.
- Do a little vocal warm-up exercise before you hit the stage. Making sounds like “Ay Ah Eee Oh Ooo” really helps you get ready to create that volume.
- Pretend like your notes are on your audience’s shoulders, so that you don’t stare at the floor, or look up the ceiling, making you look completely awkward.
- Pay attention to your posture. Maybe you’re slouching. Maybe you’re crossing your arms (which accidentally makes you look defensive and not open to other people’s opinions). Maybe you’re standing in an awkward position. Your posture makes a difference when speaking in public more than you may think. Therefore, standing in front of a mirror and practicing your speech can make you see if there’s something in your posture that you would like to improve on.
- Try to think positive things about yourself before and while doing the presentation. Oftentimes, our heads are filled with the worst thoughts about ourselves when we’re speaking in public. “You’re saying this all wrong!” “You’re so not properly dressed!” “You’re boring the audience!” “YOU’RE SCREWING THIS UP!”. Maybe, instead of dragging yourself down with negative thoughts, try to enlighten the situation by praising yourself with thoughts like “You’re bringing new ideas to the table! They’re gonna love this!” “Your outfit really speaks your brand!” “You’ve worked so hard for this!”.
- Remember to breathe! Some people are so focused on giving the presentation that they totally forget to breathe. Breathe with your nose, not with your mouth so that you don’t lose too much breath so quickly. Speak slowly and clearly so that you can catch a breath every once in a while. After all, we can’t speak clearly if we don’t have enough oxygen!
Those are some of the tips that I think are useful when you’re about to do some speaking in public. But the number one tip I always keep in mind when I’m in situations where I have to act confident is “Fake it till you make it!”.
I hope y’all find this post useful. Let me (and everyone else too!) know if you have any other cool tips on public speaking that you would like to share!