Public speaking can be tricky for many people for a variety of reasons. There is a small number of people in the world who love public speaking(like me), but for the most part, people dread it. I could never quite wrap my head around why people disliked public speaking so much, but after many years of class presentations and consoling friends I understand a little more. I have come up with some weird tips that might help you through your next nerve-racking presentation if you aren't the best public speaker. You know the basics, the old: pretend like the whole audience is in underwear, or stand with good posture and don't fidget, and of course, make good eye contact with each person in the room at least one time. These are public speaking basics, and things that should happen naturally, but my tips are a little more personal and internal.
1. Know Your Material Inside and Out, Upside Down, and in Greek.
This seems pretty obvious, but it is the most common point of stress for people during a presentation. Most often, when a presenter knows their material, speaking comes a little more easily because they don't have to memorize some script to sound like a robot. When you know your material your entire presence changes, you seem less unsure, you command the audience, and you are enthusiastic about your topic. If you know what you're talking about then half of the battle is already won. When a teacher is grading you on a presentation a huge part of their marks are about if they can feel and see that you did your research. When you have researched, prepared, and understood your topic the words will flow, and the audience will want to learn what you have to say. Just come prepared, and the rest will come to you.
2. Pretend Like You're Giving a TED talk!
If you've ever seen a TED talk then you know that the presenters really put on a show. These are usually some of the best public speakers, and they draw you in, they make you pay attention. Think of yourself watching your own presentation, what would make you intrigued? During a TED talk the presenters always know their material, they use many different tones of voice, and they make their topics come to life. If you want some pointers, you can check out basically any TED talk ever, because they make it seem very effortless and graceful, which it can be if you practice. Remember to speak slowly and clearly, to make an effort to seem enthusiastic, and if it helps you then pretend like you're famous and everyone is dying to hear your lecture. Keep your additional materials simple, and make your presentation relatable, but most importantly pretend like you know what you're doing.
3. Think of Yourself Like Sliced Bread!
This one is super strange, but it's something that I always try to remember while presenting because it makes me want to do better. Pretend like your presentation is some next generation futuristic technology that's never been discussed before, and you'll feel super cool. Tell yourself that you are teaching your audience something for the first time, so make it memorable, and try to teach them something new. Tell yourself that you are unveiling some new out of this world concept that is going to change humanity forever, just try to find facts outside of the normal range of research to make your presentation memorable and informative. If you try to think this way, then you probably actually will end up teaching your audience something new.
I hope these tips help you on your next public speaking opportunity!
Goodluck, Simone :)