Public speaking. It's something that most people have to do in their lifetimes, although for many it leads to feelings of dread and panic. Public speaking pro's like Tony Robbins make it look easy, and it definitely can be. Here are tips for your next big presentation so you can talk with confidence.
Plant Your Feet
The most important part of your speech is that you stay grounded. Plant your feet firmly and take a deep breath. Allow your body to settle. You may notice as you speak, you might shift your weight from one side to the other, or that you may start to pace. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart, with your knees slightly bent, and do your best to stay grounded. If you are just starting with public speaking, this is a great position to start. Once you're more comfortable in front of an audience, experiment with different stances. You might favor one side over the other, or you might add movement your speech (more on that later). When you're delivering speeches, it's much easier for your audience to follow what you're saying when you're not moving around. It also helps you to control your breath and any nerves that might arise.
Take Your Time
For many first-time public speakers, rushing tends to be a problem. When you become nervous, you speak faster and more rapidly to try to get through your speech quickly. The delivery that results is sometimes too quick to understand. If you find yourself rushing through a speech, take a moment to pause and breathe. Remember: you deserve to speak and be heard. If you are confident, taking moments to pause can actually make your speech more dynamic.
Choose Gestures Carefully
When you're giving a speech, it might be difficult to figure out what to do with your hands. Nervous people can fidget or put their hands in their pockets. Start with your hands down, then join them in front of you by touching your thumbs and fingertips together to form a triangle. You can also gently hold your hands together. Consider this your "home base". If you're new to public speaking, it's alright to leave your hands in the triangle for the duration of your speech. Then, when you're more comfortable, use your hands to gesture to your visual aids (if you have them), or to emphasize certain points in your speech.
This sounds like a no-brainer, but you'd be surprised at what a little extra preparation can do for your public speaking skills. If your speech is memorized, make sure you know what points you're going to talk about beforehand. Having a mental map will help guide you through your speech and stop you from getting sidetracked. Go over your speech out loud-- don't just rehearse it in your head. If you can, try it in front of a friend. Building experience giving your speech will make you feel more confident in your speech.
Public speaking is a skill that can be developed over time with practice. Try implementing these tips in your next speech and see the difference that they make! Anyone can be a great public speaker with just a little bit of effort. To hear from exceptional TEDx speakers be sure to purchase your ticket for TEDxWomenDelthorne while tickets last at https://www.tedxdelthornewomen.com/#buy-tickets
Jeff Shuford is a nationally syndicated columnist whose monthly column appears in more than 44 regional newspapers throughout the country. An award-winning contributor to Forbes, Black Enterprise Magazine, and Entrepruner.com among others Shuford's passion for delivering captivating content extends far past his weekly columns.
A decorated combat veteran, military spouse, and award-winning innovator, Shuford is a champion for veteran issues nationwide. Shuford is one of fewer than five millennial African-American syndicated columnists in the United States, and one of the country's youngest nationally syndicated columnists overall. Shuford is the president of Tech From Vets, a veteran-owned technology company that merges National Football League veterans and military veterans together in the technology industry.