Many people have a fear of public speaking whether it's in front of a crowd, or a classroom. I actually enjoy public speaking, but I do get nervous. Here are some tips to help you stay calm, cool, and collected while you are speaking in front of a lot of people.
1. Find some enjoyment in your topic: If you're excited about something you want to share it so others can feel that excitement too. Your mood about the project, presentation, or speech will change. Even if you are just excited to show off the cool designs on the PowerPoint slides, it will help put that pep in your voice and give you something to focus on as you speak and present. For example, let's say you are presenting about the extinction of a certain type of animal. You might feel strongly about this subject after doing hours of research and you will want to convey that same energy during the presentation. So instead of feeling nervous, you feel determined to educate the audience on that topic and make sure they really understand why it's a problem. On the other hand, maybe you drew diagrams and pictures of the animal and they are the best pieces of art you have ever done. Showing those off will make you feel proud of the project and excited to share it with the audience.
2. Note card with important points: Writing every single line you have to say on a note card can hurt more than help. Try to memorize the details of your topic so you're not stuck staring at the note card the whole time. In high school I believe most teachers will allow you to read off the note card or your slides, but in college if you have a presentation it's less likely. Make bullet points of the important points, then while you are speaking elaborate those points with more details.
3. Scan the crowd or look above their heads/ spaces in between people: Making eye contact is tough for a lot of people whether during conversation, interviews, or a presentation. I suggest for class presentation or speeches, look over their heads or the spaces in between people's heads so it seems like you are making eye contact with various people. You can also scan through the crowd so your gaze doesn't have to settle on one person. I had a professor that would look at the wall behind us when he was speaking. It was weird but it worked for him.
4. Remember why you are doing it and what you are getting from it: If this is for a grade, remember that! You need to do well enough to get that A+. This is motivation while you are up there presenting. If this is a work project, well it makes you look like a competent employee that really cares about that job. Educating the public is important too. Not everything needs an incentive and the mere fact that you are able to inform a group of people about a topic they may have no knowledge on is great. Their minds will be enriched... as long as your information is credible.
5. It's only a few minutes of your live. Once it's over, you move on... until the next one: Sometimes when you're up there it feels like a lifetime. Those five minutes, ten minutes, or twenty minutes, feel like FOREVER. But I'm here to tell you, it's not. In fact, you may never remember those few minutes. *Poof* Gone like the wind.
Hope you enjoyed these five tips to keep you relaxed and focused while presenting in front of an audience.
*Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash
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