Public speaking is one of the most feared aspects of modern life. Even people who seem to be totally self-assured and confident can be reduced to a jiggling mass of nerves when confronted with the idea of giving a speech or a presentation. Are you one of the people who would rather do anything than to speak in front of others? If so, you may be relieved to know that there are ways to overcome your fear and learn to be blissfully comfortable when doing public speaking. It’s important to learn this, especially for one that want to become a midwife, or anything else. Here’s how:
- Be mentally prepared. Of course you need to know your speech or presentation inside and out. You need to be so comfortable with the material that you could do a passable job of presenting it without notes. Equally important, however, is being aware of how you are going to feel and present yourself while speaking. Before you give your speech, close your eyes and breathe deeply to stimulate relaxation. Imagine watching yourself from the audience and seeing a presenter who is relaxed, knowledgeable, and friendly. By planting the idea that you will be great in your mind, you can make it a reality.
- Be in control. You are in charge of your thought processes. The brain can only handle so many tasks at once. Just as too much fear can prevent you from thinking clearly, concentrating can block feelings of fear. If you are in front of a group and feel panic trying to set in, take a moment to breathe deeply and remind yourself that you know the material.
- Make a connection. A truly great speech or presentation will feel more like sharing information with people instead of talking at people. While it is okay to have notes from which to jog your memory, be knowledgeable enough that you rarely need the notes so you can simply make a real, personable connection with your listeners. Talk as if you are talking to a friend and make sure any visual aids are secondary to you.
- Be yourself. The fact that you are delivering important information doesn’t mean that you have to become a robot. Try to maintain a relaxed demeanor and speak in a conversational tone. This will make the presentation more comfortable for everyone involved. After all, everyone hates a dull, monotone speaker.
- Find a role model. If you are at a complete loss as to how to give a speech, find a speaker you admire and carefully watch and listen to how he or she does things. This will give you a great starting point from which you can develop your own particular style. Soon, you will be the model for others.
- Work the audience. Let everyone know at the beginning that you expect them to raise their hands before making comments and when you will be accepting questions. If someone interrupts you, kindly but firmly remind them of your guidelines. It is also a good idea to use humor and personal anecdotes. Make eye contact with different people around the room and smile often. This will help to keep your audience involved and interested. By working them correctly, you will have the audience hanging on your every word.
Bobby G. likes to write about how to help yourself be happy.