Although I focus on writing speeches and presentations, I also help a number of clients with their delivery.
Everyone will admit to having certain reservations about speaking in public. You may be one of the lucky ones whose worries magically disappear the moment you have a punchy and well written speech to deliver. For you, content is the key.
You may however be someone whose fear is more deep-rooted, and for whom the very thought of standing up in front of an audience is enough to leave you with shaky hands and a sense of grim foreboding. The nerves may be so crippling that you are paralysed by fear at the very thought of a business presentation, after dinner speech, or a friend’s invitation to be best man.
But don’t give up just yet. There are a number of practical steps to take to help fight the battle against this common phobia. Some are based entirely on common sense. Others involve seeking help from professionals who really can make a difference.
Here are a few tips that I have shared with clients over the years for overcoming nerves in public speaking:
Remember it’s ok to be nervous: A little bit of adrenalin can give you focus and clarity.
Become familiar with your venue: Find out where you’ll be standing, whether there will be a microphone, and if there will be somewhere to rest your notes. This will avoid nasty surprises that might keep you awake the night before.
Practise, practise, practise! Get to know your speech so well that you only need to glance at your notes to remember what comes next. This also allows you to make eye contact with your audience, giving you reassurance and confidence.
Perfect your posture: Good posture can make you look and feel more confident. It opens up the organs, which in turn oxygenates the brain enabling you to think more quickly on your feet. Trained to the highest level in NLP and hypnotherapy, Michele Paradise specialises in improving public speaking confidence by working on your posture.
Breathe!: It might sound simple, but try some slow deep breathing exercises just before you start speaking. It is amazing the effect they can have almost immediately.
Get coaching from a qualified trainer: With a background in acting and presenting, Hugo Simpson has a wealth of experience in helping individuals or business groups build their confidence to ensure their speech or presentation is delivered to perfection.
From my experience, great content is the greatest stress-relief of all. If you believe that what you have to say is punchy, interesting and easy to deliver then the worries should start to diminish.
I look forward to hearing from you.