Kiss Your Fear of Public Speaking Goodbye!

26 Sep

I’m sure that you can recall at least one moment in your life when you had to give a presentation. If you are anything like me, the thought of presenting in front of anyone that is not the mirror is unnerving. However, it is something that we all have to do.

This advice really helps me through my experiences with public speaking:

  • “Find the friendly face in the room.” Eye contact is very important when trying to persuade someone into thinking that your idea is golden and a friendly face makes it all the easier. This is not to say to find that face and fixate upon it; rather use that face as a relief point. Let your eyes rest on each person long enough to build a connection with him/ her and whenever you feel overwhelmed, find that friendly face.
  • “Your hands say more than your mouth does.”  Hand gestures can be an instant giveaway that someone is not comfortable. Arms glued to your side can come across as tense, while elaborate hand gestures can seem as though they are compensating for something else. Keep it simple – you do not want to detract from your excellent points with your gestures. Just be natural.
  • “Relax!” The hardest, yet most effective thing to do is remain calm. Public speaking is not horrible and even if it is, all things get easier with time and practice.

So the next time you find yourself in a position where you have to present a PowerPoint or engage in any other type of public speaking and you are nervous, remember these three points. I’m sure it will go better than your last experience.

by Michelle Romney

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3 Responses to “Kiss Your Fear of Public Speaking Goodbye!”

  1. Elisabeth Green September 28, 2011 at 8:25 pm #

    Michelle, your article was exactly what I needed to prepare for a presentation tomorrow! “Finding a friendly face in the room” is a really great idea, and I also think it is important to have a friendly face on yourself. A big part of public speaking is how others perceive you, so you want to look confident and composed. Sometimes it is just the thought of anxiety that makes us so nervous. If you walk in with a negative attitude, you will be much more tense, but if you tell yourself you are relaxed and prepared, then that is how you will appear.

  2. Daniel Duggal September 29, 2011 at 4:32 am #

    Elisabeth,

    I couldn’t agree with you more regarding not only “finding a friendly face in the room”, but being one. I have come to realize that a smile is a great way to demonstrate your confidence and disarm your audience. Oftentimes a speaker will face a skeptical or even hostile audience, and it can be very effective to try to win them over with a smile. If you are trying to convince someone of something, you will undoubtedly be more effective if you are likable.

    I think the most important takeaway is that a smile – as long as it is natural and genuine – can do you no harm. So next time you are getting started with a speech or any other face-to-face conversation, remember to smile!

    -Daniel Duggal

  3. Gregory Porter September 30, 2011 at 3:39 am #

    Public speaking is a vital part of communication, and I know the skills you talk about will help us all be better at presenting our ideas to classmates and colleagues. I think relaxing is often overlooked when it comes to public speaking. Being able to be in the moment and think about the task at hand is vital to success. Also, hand motions are often tricky to master, but as you mention, “keep[ing] it simple” can go a long way towards mastering that skill. Lastly, having three points like these to remember before making a presentation will surely be very beneficial towards remembering the keys to success and getting past our nervousness.

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