Glossophobia –It’s the dreaded fear of public speaking – one of the scariest and most common phobias we all have – 75% of the population, in fact. First and foremost, think about the word presentation and, instead replace it with the word “conversation.” When we change our mindset of what we are doing, we automatically become more relaxed. Instead of thinking of performing, think of yourself as informing…. sharing some information that is useful to your given audience.
Here are some other things to consider in enhancing your presentation skills:
Vocal Control: Breath is the key to relaxation and I always encourage people to do deep breathing exercises to calm their nerves and it helps them speak with authority. Also consider your volume when you are speaking in a group presentation…don’t speak too slow or too fast…just be conversational and articulate and don’t be afraid to pause, which gives you more time to breath. And do try and avoid presentation killer filler words like “uh…” “um…” ya know…” “I mean…”
Body Language: Not only consider how you are speaking, but what your body language is saying. Watch your posture, keep your head up and smile…all these things actually make your brain feel more confident so you will speak with ease. Be animated and use your hands, don’t be frozen with your arms by your side and move around if you are on stage. Thing to avoid? Distracting mannerisms like fixing your tie, taking your glasses on and off, and slouching.
Attention grabbers: When you start a presentation or a speech, open your talk with a strange or interesting fact…like you did with the word “glossophobia!” It automatically intrigues your audience and makes them want to know more. You can also lead your talk with a personal story about how the topic matter relates to you…maybe do something fun like transport an audience to a different time or place and don’t be afraid to poke fun at yourself. You can also ask questions of the audience during certain times of your speech or presentation…it makes your audience personally relate the topic matter and again makes the process more conversational.
The actual speech: Be brief…know your audience and give information that they seek to make their life better…and try to stick to no more than three main points. At the end, remind them of what you just talked about…end on a positive note or a call to action to ask more questions or how to get in touch with you for more information.
Soothing nerves: And when it comes to calming those butterflies before you start, try to never think of the word “nervous” again. Instead think of the word “excitement.” Use positive visualization and self-talk to build confidence. Do deep breathing to relax and try to arrive an hour before your presentation to ensure you know the feel of the room, that your visual aides are working, and prepare, prepare, and prepare. Know what you are going to say inside and out, and whistle! It relieves tension! Also, be sure and stop working on your presentation a good while before you begin…because you need time to get into relaxation mode so you can start your group “conversation!”
Enhance your training facilitation and presentation skills for imparting knowledge to others by attending Intercultural Etiquette and Protocol Trainer course.