Man standing before a podium public speaking to an attentive audience

Man standing before a podium public speaking to an attentive audiencePublic speaking is a skill that can be learned like any other. For many people, overcoming fears of public speaking keeps them from building up the same skills that make getting up in front of a crowd easier. One of the best ways to become a confident, well-spoken public speaker is by public speaking. Which means that you’ll likely have to endure some discomfort to get to the place where public speaking feels comfortable. Here are three public speaking tips to help you calm your nerves before you go up in front of a crowd.

Start Small

As you build up your public speaking skills and your comfort presenting before a crowd of people, it’s best to start off with small events where you have support from encouraging people or have the opportunity to speak on a topic you’re passionate and knowledgeable about. A networking group can be an ideal opportunity for this, as many networking groups feature regular speakers and offer a small group and supportive environment to share your knowledge. As your public speaking skills continue to grow (and you build up your speaking resume), you can present before larger audiences and events.

Don’t Forget to Breathe 

When you get stressed or nervous, you may notice that your breathing gets shallow and you experience a number of other physiological occurrences. This is your sympathetic nervous system preparing your body to take on whatever predator is causing your distress. Unfortunately, this natural reaction is not helpful when you’re presenting. One of the most effective ways to calm down your sympathetic nervous system is through slow, steady deep breathing. Taking steady deep breaths is a practice that can be useful in the days leading up to your public speaking event whenever your nerves act up and is something you should take the time to do in the five or ten minutes before your presentation. With steady breathing, you can tell your body that it’s okay to relax, which can alleviate some of the uncomfortable physical experiences of nervousness.

Know Your Content

One of the best tips to put into place before any public speaking event is how important it is to know your content. Nerves are a natural part of public speaking, but unfortunately they can make it more difficult for you to remember what you’re talking about once everyone’s attention is on you. Make the time to prepare for your speaking event beforehand. If you have strong knowledge of your content and the topics you’ll be covering in your presentation, you can help avoid the empty brain feeling when your nerves start up. 

Memorization can be useful when preparing for a public speaking event, but avoid trying to memorize your entire presentation word for word. That is likely to have you sounding robotic or uncomfortable when giving your presentation, and likely won’t help you feel prepared or less nervous. Instead, memorize your introduction and your key points. Having an introduction memorized can help you get started, which is often the scariest part of public speaking, and having your key points memorized will help you keep track of your presentation without needing to remember every word you want to say. 

Public speaking is a useful and important skill to have in your professional career. While it’s not always comfortable, with practice it can become second nature. If you’re looking for opportunities to practice your public speaking ability and enhance your professional development, join a 4BR group near you today! Building public speaking skills is part of the professional development 4BR encourages in our members. You’ll share your 30 second commercial each week when you meet with your group and rotate with other members to share 15-20 minute presentations about your business or professional knowledge.

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