I used to be terrified of public speaking – dry mouth, racing heart, sweaty palms, blank mind – yeah, I’ve been there!
Public speaking is said to be one of our greatest fears. But I was never just content with overcoming fear. I wanted to be a great speaker.
What I needed was a way of calming down and applying simple techniques and strategies to talk like a pro.
That’s what I’m going to share with you here.
If you speak publicly or give presentations at work, the following tips will help you relax, feel more confident and actually enjoy public speaking, no matter the size of your audience.
Let’s begin by looking at some vital ingredients…
Four ingredients to confident public speaking
When I’d learned to relax – more on that later – I applied the following four ingredients that go into delivering a great speech or presentation…
- Reassure your audience – they need to know that you know what you’re talking about. Know your material!
- Hook them by being interesting and relevant. Tell them why what you are saying is relevant to them.
- Inspire your audience by giving information and ways of seeing that are new and applicable.
- Leave them on a high by telling a story that encapsulates your central message.
But, I hear you ask, how do you become confident enough to apply the four ingredients?
Well, here are seven tips, some of which are practical, some of which are to do with the way you think about your public presentations and also how you can start to change the way you feel about them.
Let’s look at these one by one so that next time you deliver a speech or give a presentation, calm confidence will flow from every word you say…
Public Speaking Tip One:
Breathe your way to calm. When you breathe out you relax; that’s why people sigh deeply when they’re stressed.
Breathing in without properly breathing out causes hyperventilation and worsens anxiety.
So, before your speech take five minutes out and do a deep breathing exercise. This will produce quick and lasting calm. Remember, extending the out breath calms you down.
Related content: Zen Breathing – an ancient technique to help calm your emotions
You have a responsibility as the presenter, but relax! You don’t carry all the responsibility. Presenting is a team effort. Audiences are responsible for politeness, extending their attention and attempting to learn.
It’s not all you; it’s a meeting of two halves. Never mind how they judge you. How do you judge them?
A good thing here is to look for the ‘kind eyes’ in the audience: there’ll always be a few people who are on your side. Speak to them.
Use metaphor and stories.
We all experience life metaphorically. The most rational, logical person spends at least two hours a night dreaming! And dreams are metaphors of the previous day’s unresolved stressors.
So, talk detail if necessary but present patterns with metaphors and anecdotes. Folk from the ages of 4 to 104 love stories. Use them!
Captivate attention by using words that evoke all the senses. This is where hypnotic language comes into play.
Describe how things look, sound, feel, smell and taste. Paint pictures and sensations in their minds with your words. You’ll see people going into trance as they listen!
Related content: this pdf is free to download and connects tips 3 and 4 together: It speaks of storytelling’s power to hypnotize and is something all good public speakers do.
Keep your audience alert and engaged by varying your voice tonality and delivery. (This is another aspect of hypnotic communication).
Convey energy when need be and slow down when you need to ‘draw them in close.’ You are the conductor to their orchestra.
And pepper your talk with a dash of humour – and humility. Your willingness to be funny – and human – shows personal confidence. And confidence is contagious.
Tell your audience what they are going to get, what they are currently getting and then, at the end of your talk, summarise what they have got from you.
Sell your sizzle!
Watch and learn from other great speakers until compelling, relaxed speaking is a part of you. Think Martin Luther King, Winston Churchill, and, dare I say it, Adolf Hitler (who hypnotized a whole nation through the power of speech!)
Rehearse positively. You need to rehearse how you’re going to feel as well as what you are going to present.
Don’t think about your forthcoming presentation whilst feeling nervous as this creates an instinctive association between fear and presenting. This natural negative self-hypnosis is very common with nervous speakers.
Instead, hypnotically rehearse your speech whilst feeling relaxed. This produces the right ‘blueprint’ in your mind. In fact when you do this enough times it actually becomes hard to be nervous!
All great speakers know how to use positive self-hypnotic rehearsal. Hypnosis changes attitudes and can bring your emotions under control.
I used hypnosis to change my instincts around public speaking. Now I just can’t get nervous whether it’s 50 or 500 people.
The world needs great communicators. Become one of them!
Article by Mark Tyrrell of Hypnosis Downloads.com