The period of that crucial presentation (speaking in public) is finally here. The day of shaking knees, butterflies in the stomach, and nervous smiles. It is quite common for people to tense up before or during a presentation.
Most Effective Ways to be Relaxed While Speaking in Public
It’s an incontrovertible fact that speaking in public is one of the most important fears we have. This is mostly true when a person is new to public speaking. A newbie orator must learn few techniques which will help him relax and suggests a point of the presentation effectively.
If you’re relaxed, your audience is going to be ready to relax and concentrate on your topic. Your nervousness and anxiety distract other people from what you are saying. Luckily, we can always make ourselves feel at ease and relaxed at will.
Let’s take a glance at a number of ways to be extremely confident and comfortable during a presentation.
1. Know your Audience
One of the primary steps that you simply should take before speaking in public is to find out who your audience is. Find out their motives behind attending this presentation. What they are expecting from your speech? Find out few things about their background… their age bracket, their cultural background, education level, etc.
Knowing this stuff will allow you to tailor your speech for optimum effectiveness. For example, a speech for top-level management is going to be quite different from a speech prepared for college students. Your anxiety level will be a lot lower when you know your audience and have prepared a killer speech only for them.
2. Visualize your speech
If you want to perfect the art of speaking in public, this approach has been of help to me the most when it comes to feeling relaxed during speech. Before the presentation, go to a quiet place. Close your eyes. Imagine yourself standing on the stage and talking to your audience.
The key is to envision it in as much detail as possible. See the entire room. Where are the lights? What is the color of the room? People who are looking at you… How are they listening to you? What are the countenance and looks on their faces (Hint: Pleasant)?
Now you will start feeling anxiety. But keep your eyes closed. Try to do away with your concentration from the anxiety and put it on your topic and its delivery. See yourself making a spectacular speech. People are listening intently. Soon, you’ll start feeling calmer as you still focus on how effectively you’re communicating your topic.
Practice this for 15-20 minutes. Now when you go on stage, you’ll realize you’ve got next to no anxiety. You are ready to deliver your speech with much efficiency. Try it once and I assure you, you will be surprised by the amazing result.
3. Confident Body Language
Your emotions follow your body. You are never a slave of your emotions. It is always within our ability to make ourselves feel whatever we want to feel, just by changing our bodies in a certain way. To prove this, think about an occasion that makes you sad instantly (we all have at least a few of those).
Now you are feeling sad. Stop. Now put an enormous, wide, ear-to-ear kind of smile on your face and look up to the ceiling. Now imaging that very same event again and try to feel bad. You will find that you are unable to make yourself feel bad, just by having a big smile on your face (even if it’s a fake smile). Amazing, isn’t it?
Similarly, having good body language while giving a speech makes you feel relaxed and confidant. Stand straight. Don’t slouch. Take full Breaths. Keep your hands out of your pockets. Hold your head up high. Don’t put your head in a lower position and make gestures with your hands.
If you want to know more about it, search for confidant body language on Google. There are tons of websites dedicated to body language. Just know that the way you use your body has a lot to do with how you feel in a situation. Use this to your advantage.
4. Focus on your topic
Speaking in public is not tasking but most people focus more on how people will think about them, rather than focusing on the topic of the speech. This makes your delivery poor and diverts the audience’s minds to your anxiety instead of what you’re saying. Don’t forget the golden rule of speaking in public: The audience will feel exactly what the speaker is feeling. We have something called mirror neurons. They make us feel precisely the same emotions as the ones being expressed by the face which we are watching.
The point is this. We must place more concentration on the topic and be passionate about conveying how it will help our audience to get what they want.
For instance, if you are presenting a speech about a real state, be completely passionate about conveying how your audience will benefit by investing in that. What advantages they will get over other options? What will be the short and long-term gain or benefit? How they will get a sense of security? How easy it is to work together with your organization?
When your mind is totally focused on how you’ll give your audience value, your anxiety will disappear. You will feel far more confidant knowing that you simply are helping your audience get what they need.
5. Change your mood beforehand
To counter the anxiety you feel before speaking in public, do something which will put your mood in a more joyful, happy state. When you are sitting and waiting for your time to give a presentation, you can do one of the following things to put yourself into good mood instantly:
- Keep funny videos and pictures on your cell phone which make you laugh.
- Joke around with your friends.
- Call someone you love talking to.
- Do deep breathing.
- Do light meditation (if you like it).
- Switch your body language (the way you pose, facial expressions and the likes)
- Think about all the ways your audience will enjoy your speech.
- Do light exercise before preparing for your speech. (if possible)
- Be appreciative for the things you have been blessed with.
This list can be endless. It really depends on you. Add your own ways to this list. What makes you feel happy and joyful? Put it on your list and do them before going to your presentation. Speaking in public, preparation is one thing, but putting yourself in a good mood before your speech will make you much more enthusiastic. You will carry that momentum to your speech and be better able to put your point across efficiently.
So that’s it. It is now left to you to make use of these techniques for making you relaxed and focused in your speeches. I personally use these and get great benefits from myself. I urge you to try these even if you do not think they can help you.
Remember, experience is the best teacher. After making use of these techniques, you will be surprised how relaxed and in control you will feel.