What is Public Speaking?
Public Speaking is simply speaking to the public that is your audience.
Whenever you are talking to a bunch of people it is technically public speaking. But when we think of public speaking what comes to our mind is a person speaking in front of a large audience.
When it comes to speaking in front of people, most of us get panic and nervous. Even the biggest fear some people have is public speaking fear. This fear of speaking in public is more dangerous than death for some people. Even there’s a word for this fear, that is, Glossophobia or speech anxiety. The word glossophobia derives from the greek word glossa meaning tongue, and phobos, fear. Speech anxiety is the feeling of worry and physical reactions caused when speaking to others, especially to a larger group of people.
Fear of public speaking is a common form of anxiety. It can range from slight nervousness to paralyzing fear and panic.
Reasons for Public speaking fear:
- Self-consciousness:This is the most frequently named reason for performance anxiety. To overcome that fear you need to forget the feeling of self-consciousness. You need to get involved in the topic so much that the fear doesn’t come in our mind. Also, you can memorize a few starting lines so that there’s a flow in speaking and the rest of the words comes naturally. This will start boosting confidence in you and reduces fear. In the first few speeches, you will be nervous as hell but you need to keep going. Remember that the people in a big audience are also humans like you. Concentrate on just talking to them and you’ll be at your best.
- Concern that others are judging you: The biggest fear people have is what others might be thinking of us. When it comes to speaking in front of people, most of us get panic and nervous. There’s always a thought in mind what people might be thinking of us.
For this there’s a famous saying that if we will think what others are thinking then what will they do. So stop thinking that.
The truth is that people really don’t care about you. They’re in the audience to get something out of your presentation, or speech. They want their time to be well spent. So, focus on how you can be better.
- Past failures. Public speaking anxiety is very common behavior. But there might be some reason behind it that in the past either you have seen failure or there’s a thought of self-doubt from childhood. But if you what to speak and prepared for it then there’s no reason for things to go wrong. Plan to succeed and don’t think about failure.
- Not prepared properly: If you haven’t prepared well and forgetting on the stage, then it’s your fault and you can blame nobody but yourself. Nothing undermines public speaking confidence like being unprepared. But nothing gives you as much confidence as being ready. Your choice. Practice many times and you will be confident on the stage.
- Comparison with others. Don’t ever compare yourself with someone. Everyone is unique and different. You don’t have to be an excellent speaker but try to be interesting when you talk or discuss something. That’s it. Nobody in the entire world can speak like you. Yes! That’s true, nobody can’t speak like you and you can’t speak like someone else. Be what you are and you won’t have fear to speak. This process of speaking better will help you in overcoming fear of public speaking. Speak more naturally and you will become a confident speaker.
How to overcome the fear of public speaking?
The biggest fear people have is what others might be thinking of us. To overcome that fear you need to forget the feeling of self-consciousness. You need to get involved in the topic so much that the fear doesn’t come in our mind. Also, you can memorize a few starting lines so that there’s a flow in speaking and the rest of the words comes naturally. This will start boosting confidence in you and reduces fear. In the first few speeches, you will be nervous as hell but you need to keep going. To know more about public speaking fear, check out another blog here.
Why is public speaking important for students?
Public speaking is very important for everyone whether you are a businessman or a student. To know how public speaking helps in making effective business strategies, read this blog.
Effective public speaking skills can have a huge impact on your career. It improves creativity and critical thinking. It helps you to express your thoughts confidently.
Numerous situations in school require students to speak up in front of classmates and teachers. These include oral reports, projects, assemblies, sports, reading a chapter in class, powerpoint presentation and many more. Some kids might be confident and speak fluently but others tend to be fearful. There are many reasons why students should learn public speaking skills:
1. It will improve communication skills
Public speaking involves verbal as well as non-verbal communication, both of which are essential in getting your message across effectively. As children grow older, many teachers grade their students based on oral presentations for book reports, project presentations, or debates. Students with good public speaking skills stand out in a group and earn higher grades.
2. Public speaking skills are very important to become a leader
Even if a student does not hold an official leadership position, effective public speaking can help him/her become a thoughtful leader. Most of the greatest leaders are also some of the best speakers.
3.Public speaking can be a great self-esteem booster
By learning how to effectively speak in public, students will be able to increase their own self-confidence. Did you know that public speaking fear is one of the most common fears in the world? By speaking publicly on a regular basis, the students will be able to master the art of public speaking and it will build their confidence and personality.
Many famous personalities were not a good public speaker in the beginning but they have worked incredibly hard at this skill over the years. To know how they have evolved look at their old interviews and compare them to recent ones. They still keep working on their public speaking skills to improve it more. If they can work at it, we can also do it.
How to become effective public speaker?
1.Confidence: Confidence plays a very important role when it comes to public speaking. Being confident in speaking will allow you to be seen as a knowledgeable person. It’s natural to be nervous, but to excel in public speaking, you have to overcome your nervousness and stage fear.
Your audience will trust you and will listen to you carefully. Confidence makes a person credible, knowledgeable, and believable. If you want to be confident on stage, you have to be yourself and don’t act like someone. If you can be yourself in front of an audience, they will relate with you. Also your confidence depends on how well you are prepared. The key is to practice, practice and practice. One day you will be able to master the art of public speaking.
2.Passion: Why would an audience hear about your story if you yourself are not passionate about it? If an audience can see and feel your passion in your words or by your body language, they will be more interested in listening you. Passion is a strong feeling of enthusiasm or excitement for something. If you want to become an effective public speaker, you need to have a passion for what you are speaking.
3. Engage with your audience: A good speech should be interactive and it engages the audience. If they are well engaged, they will not feel bored and will be interested in listening to you. Also it is very important to know the audience that you’re presenting to. If you know this, you’ll be better able to connect to them. You engage them by starting with a hook statement or by storytelling.
4.Storytelling: A presentation is more effective and engaging when it doesn’t feel like a presentation. You should know how to tell your story to your audience. If you can transform an ordinary story into an adventure and create a memorable experience for the audience, you can get a lot of attention from your audience. So start your speech by a story, ask a question or any statement which triggers the curiosity of the audience. Give them the context for all of the information you are sharing. Instead of just giving the information and facts, you can create a story around that. Stories help people retain more information because they build their interest in what you are speaking.
5. Be yourself: Always be yourself and don’t ever imitate or copy someone. No one can become like you and you can’t become like anyone. Everyone is unique and has a different style of speaking. No matter how much you have rehearsed for the speech if you try to be someone else, the audience will notice that. It will create an image in the mind of your audience that you lack originality.
Public speaking techniques
1.How to begin a speech
You need to engage your audience in the first 3 minutes. Because this is the time that determines how successful your speech will be. So ensure you use the right hook to engage the audience right after you step on stage.
This hook can be a one-liner, a joke or some shocking facts. You can also grab with your voice modulation. It depends on those precious few minutes that they will stick with you for the rest of your presentation or not. Preparation of speech is a complete process. Read how to prepare a speech.
You should know how to tell your story to grab the attention of your audience. Just speaking out what you have learnt makes it boring and nobody wants to listen to a boring speaker. People love to listen to a good story which draws their attention and engages them till the end. A good storyteller can transform an ordinary story into an adventure and creates a memorable experience for the audience. Nobody can tell your stories in the way you can which makes you unique. So, if you want to be an effective speaker, start your speech by a story, ask a question or any hook statement which triggers the curiosity of the audience. Make sure your story is relatable and relevant. To become a good storyteller, you should have effective communication skills. Read this blog, to know how to improve communication skills.
3. Show as if you are master of your field
You don’t need to become an expert on your material but your confidence, clarity of mind and way of speaking makes your image as an expert or master in your field, in the minds of people. Be passionate about what you speak. Make sure you tell about what you are sure. Don’t ever misguide people and give them false information. Public speaking is not just about your expertise on the main topic but also the way you engage with your audience also matters a lot. Engage them in different activities like brainstorming, quiz or repeating something aloud. The main thing which matters is you need to keep going. Don’t stop even if you forget something or get nervous. Just move ahead. As it is said, “Life must go on”.
4. Avoid conversation fillers
At times we get stuck and there’s an awkward silence while speaking. We all use filler words into our conversations like “Um,” “uh,” “like”, “so” and many more such words without even realizing it. Overuse of these words make you sound less confident or sometimes confused. You need to overcome this habit to become a better public speaker. Practice as many times as you can to eliminate these words from your speech. At the time of practice, speak like you are speaking on stage. It’s just like giving mock tests before the actual exam. You can also try recording video of your speech, so that you can notice your mistakes in the recording.
5. Use of effective gestures
Use of gestures should be purposeful and natural. It is very easy to tell about an inexperienced speaker by his body movement and hand gestures. Natural movement during a speech is a sign of an effective public speaker. Hand gestures and even walking across the stage can be a good public speaking technique. Just make sure it seems natural and not intentional.
Movement can make you appear more comfortable and help your audience relate to you. Standing at a podium reading from prepared notes will make your audience bored or they might leave the room. Instead, move around the stage and use your hands to emphasize on the important points. Make eye contact with the audience with a smile on your face and activeness in your body.
One of the reasons so many of us fear public speaking is because we think that we’ll make a mistake or what others might be thinking of us. Even sometimes lack of practice or past failures make us conscious on the stage. Of course, practice can reduce the chances of mistakes and you’ll be more confident. You can memorize a few starting lines so that there’s a flow in speaking and the rest of the words comes naturally. This will start boosting confidence in you and reduces your fear. Remember that the people in the audience are also humans like you. Concentrate on just talking to them and you’ll be at your best.
7. Relax and calm your mind
Last but not least, relaxing your mind is very important before you start speaking on the stage. It’s normal to be nervous about public speaking. Most of us have a fear of public speaking. It’s so common there’s a term for fear of public speaking which is known as – “glossophobia”. Public speaking fear is a common form of anxiety. It can range from slight nervousness to panic on stage.Those who have never suffered from shyness have no idea how frustrating it can be! Here are some tips to overcome public speaking fear.
Still, you should try to relax and calm your mind. If there’s something that normally calms you down in stressful situations, try using that right before your speech.
Or else you could try some popular calming techniques like meditation, physical exercise, aromatherapy, music or sometimes positive affirmations may also work.
Many speakers run behind improving style of speaking But before that it is important to know what to speak. Because once you know ‘what’ to speak with complete conviction, then your speech will be delivered much more effectively.
Also, the biggest mistake beginners make is that they think everything has to be perfect.
The more you focus on being perfect, the more you will create unwanted pressure on yourself. Nobody is perfect, unless you are a robot. Just Focus on providing values rather than being perfect.
While preparing your speech, keep one thing in mind that you don’t have to go deep into every topic. Your goal should be to convey ONE big idea and everything else in your speech will be supporting and around that one big idea.
Once you reduce the complexity, it is much easier for your audience to stay engaged. Check out this blog, to know 15 reasons about public speakers.
Good Luck. Keep speaking and improving your public speaking skills.