Anyone who is 'unaccustomed to public speaking' is likely to approach the task with a sense of misgiving, if not dread. Indeed, according to research findings the fear of speaking in public is people's number one fear, with the fear of dying coming a poor seventh! However, speaking in public is just a skill like any other, and it is one which anyone can learn and enjoy. And the rewards from doing so are enormous. In particular, it can significantly enhance your feeling of self-esteem to have an audience of people listening attentively to you and finding great interest in what you are saying. And this good feeling can put you into a virtuous circle where each improvement in your speaking skill encourages you to have another go and do even better.
Two of the key elements of speaking effectively in public are as follows:
- having good material. It can make an enormous difference to how you feel about your presentation if you are genuinely fascinated by the material (information, visual displays, anecdotes, jokes, etc.) that you have brought together. You will look forward to sharing your 'goodies' with others!
- thorough preparation. However excellent your material, it is vital that you work out how you are going to present it and then rehearse your delivery. A mind map can provide a valuable mechanism for collecting and structuring one's ideas. And at a later stage many people find it useful to put their key points onto prompt cards (possibly colour-coded) and to practise in front of a mirror.
Public speaking is a vital life-skill which you should aim to develop. Attending a series of workshops can be a good way of doing this, as you are able to progress in a step-by-step manner in a supportive environment. An alternative option would be to join a local speakers club, offering "public speaking development among friends". The Association of Speakers Clubs link below, for example, will enable you to obtain details of 150 such clubs in the UK.
The ability to speak confidently in public links closely with how relaxed you are and with your level of self-esteem and your breathing and body language, and so it is important to build on these ideas too. There is plenty of helpful information on the web about public speaking: some useful sites are listed below.
For further information on public speaking see:
- A Guide to Public Speaking
Association of Speakers Clubs
Hypnotherapy for Public Speaking
McGraw-Hill Public Speaking Site
Overcoming Speaking Anxiety in Meetings & Presentations
Public speaking: guidelines
SelfGrowth.com - Public Speaking Websites