In today’s article you’re going to learn everything you need to know about what to do if you hate public speaking.
If you have to give a speech, and want to give an effective one, then this article is right for you! In this post, I share 10 simple suggestions that I keep in mind as I prepare to give an effective speech.
Things to do if you you hate public speaking:
1. Have a Strong Begining!
DON’T be routine and boring by giving a standard introduction.
For example: “Hello, my name is John. Thank you for being here today. Sorry for the technical problems we are facing. Thank you for your time today. I hope you are excited! (It’s boring!)
Giving a standard introduction can lull your audience to complacency. It will quickly put them to sleep. Although the topic may be interesting, the audience will stop listening once they sense that the speaker is routine.
Hit the ground running! Share a fact, a statistic, or a trend. For instance: “One out of four people will be in poverty by the age of 65. So, here’s what you can do to keep from being poor.”
A strong beginning quickly engages your audience!
2. Establish Your Authority.
Before giving your speech, ask yourself these types of questions:
Why should your audience spend their valuable time listening to you? What gives you credibility to speak about this subject? Why are you deserving of their ear?
Here are some good possible reasons: “Because I have written several books on this topic.” “Because I have spent the last 10 years playing the piano for well-renowned musicial artists such as…” “Because I have started my own internet business from scratch.” “Because ever since I was twelve years old, I have cooked three meals each day for my family. I know a thing or two about cooking.”
An audience is more likely to lend their ear to a person that has more knowledge, experience, and credibility.
Establish your authority and credibility at the beginning. Establish your authority in a spirit of humility. Try not to boast of your accomplishments. Focus on your goal which is to help inform the audience about a particular subject.
3. Tell Stories with a moral that connects to your subject.
Stories are memorable and can create a lasting impression on your audience. Good speakers often weave a story into their speech. Stories are easy to remember. Stories quickly engage your audience.
A good story can quickly dissolve tension within your audience. Tell a short story about an article that you read. You can also tell them about a personal experience to help the audience relate to you.
For instance, “About five years ago, I was fired from my job. Ever since then, my life has changed. I started my own online business selling items on the internet. Being let go from my job has kept me from complacency. In retrospect, it was a blessing in disguise.”
If you don’t want to share a personal story, tell them a story that has made a lasting impression or an impact upon you.
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4. Establish Rapport
Connect with your audience by telling them about the significance of today’s date in history.
The audience is more willing to listen because it is a shared commonality.
For instance: “Today is 9/11, a day of sorrow for our nation. Out of this shared sorrow, we remember the victims and their families in our prayers. We give thanks for the many gracious unsung heroes that have stepped forward to provide assistance like the Firefighters. Relying upon world leaders, may they find ways to work towards world peace. Together, with a resilent spirit, let us look forward to a brighter future and discern ways to promote and advocate peace first in our community, in our nation, and abroad.”
5. Utilize Humor
Using humor by far, has to be one of the most difficult task for an average speaker.
Humor can be in a form of a joke or a funny story. It can also be a pun, (not intended).
For instance, it was a reported to the Pastor of a Church that someone stole the Air-Conditioner. So the Pastor put up a sign that says: “If you took the Air-Conditioner, please keep one with you because it will be scorching hot where you are going.”
Humor is usually self-deprecating. Caution: Don’t tell jokes or funny stories in which you are not included in the punchline. Doing so can cause a mix reaction from the audience, and out of dislike, they may stop listening to the speech. For instance, if you are a male, don’t tell funny stories that poke fun of females. And vice versa! If you have a full set of hair, don’t tell bald jokes. Make sure the audience knows that you are also being made fun of.
Humor can be unintentional. Sometimes, speakers will unintentionally make a slip up which will catapult that audience into a sea of laughter. If you make a mistake, just inform your audience: “I was just testing to see you if you are still awake.”
If you tell a funny story without any success, stay calm and say to them: “I have to admit, it was funny when the story was told to me.” At least you’ll get a few chuckles.
Humor relies upon truth. Once a truth is established, or commonly accepted by the audience, you can employ irony and hyperbole to “bring down the house.” For instance, Warren Buffet is the poorest man in the world. He is only worth 600 billion dollars.” Another example is: “We have a tradition that we keep in this community. It’s not that old of a tradition. It only dates back to the middle ages.”
Don’t treat humor as an end, but as means to get a message across to your listeners.
6. Weave popular quotes from others throughout your speech.
Using quotes can help the audience pinpoint your own values and beliefs. The quotes that you recite are windows to your soul. They can immediately see who you are following, why you are following them, and understand the treasures that feed your spirit.
Some people may just quote in general such as: “I heard it said this…, or Someone once said…” Usually, by pinpointing the author, it shows that you have done your research, and adds credibility. For instance: “Francis of Assisi once said: ‘Preach always, but if necessary, use words.’”
Another example: “Abraham Lincoln once said: ‘A house divided among itself cannot stand.’”
St. Paul once said: “Even if I have faith to move mountains, but have not love, than I am nothing.”
Jesus once said: “What profit is it to gain the whole world, but to lose one’s soul.”
7. Audience Participation
Speakers can engage the audience by asking them to raise their hands or say yes.
For instance: “Raise your hands if you have read this particular report.”
“How many of you have seen the Pyramids of Giza? Can I see a show of hands?”
“Say “Yes” if you understand what I am talking about.”
Evangelical Preachers would often tell their audience after making an important point: “Can I hear an Amen!”
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8. Relax your audience.
Tension can build between yourself and the audience especially when it has to do with a controversial subject.
Relax the audience by saying something similar along these lines: “This is a controversial topic, and you may have many questions. I will try to answer the questions the best that I can in the time that is allotted.”
9. Standard protocols.
Don’t let the microphone cover your mouth from the audience. Visually, the audience needs to see your lips moving. Let your audience see your lips as you talk.
Posture conveys confidence. Stand tall and display a confidence with the subject. Someone once said that 20% of communication is verbal while 80% is non-verbal. Practice in front of a mirror, or have yourself recorded to discern ways for improvements.
Speak clearly. Don’t slur your speech. Don’t drop your voice at the end of each sentence. If the audience cannot hear you, they will easily be frustrated. Speech Volume is crucial.
Have good eye contact. Even if you are using a prepared speech, look up every once in awhile and connect with the audience by allowing them to see your eyes.
The difference between a good speaker and a proficient speaker has to do with the use of pauses. A good speaker may plow through their speech, but a proficient speaker will allow time for the audience to digest the thoughts and ideas. It’s sort of like feeding a child. If you give a child too much food at any given time, they will choke. The child needs time to digest the food before receiving another spoonful. After each important point, pause for a few seconds and allow time for the audience to digest your great thoughts and ideas.
10. Have a Strong Closing.
Having a clear and definitive ending to your speech is crucial. Ending a speech with “I don’t really know what else to say,” or “Sorry, but that’s it.”
Having a strong closing statement is just as important as having a strong introduction. These last words will remain with your audience. Like a fireworks show, the best ones are displayed at the end, leaving the audience breathless, and the show memorable. It doesn’t mean that you have to leave the audience with a “bang”. But you want to leave a with good, positive and lasting impression.
For example, “In closing, we can see the dramatic difference that incentives have on our company’s producitivity. Without incentives, our company will not see the increase in profits that we have had in the last five years. Someone once said: “Don’t fix what isn’t broken.” For the good of our company, let’s make allowance in our budget this year again for incentives. Thank you very much for listening!”
I want to thank you for taking the time to read my article about things to do if you hate public speaking. I sincerely hope its contents have been a good help to you.