Imagine you are scheduled to say a few words in public in the very near future. You are probably nervous. Maybe you are even panicking. Possibly you are starting to think of how to skip this speech. Relax. You are one among millions who gets butterflies in stomach when asked to say few words in public. We do admire several people who possess this wonderful skill – public speaking and one of my favorites off late is the American President Barack Obama.
Later on, when I moved to South Miami Beach, FL, I joined Toastmasters because I wanted to meet new professional friends in the area. That organization helped me improve my speaking skills, focusing on English speaking, or sounding pronunciations, impromptu and spontaneous discussions, as well as formulating thoughts on the fly, particularly overcoming nervous anxiety.
Then be sure to become familiar with it. If there are other speakers giving a presentation before you then take a look at them. Do they use their environment? What are they doing well? What are they doing poorly?
The second concept is tailoring your message to your audience. What does this mean? Well, if you were talking to a 73 year old woman, would you talk to her about playing hockey? I think not. The same is true if you were talking to an audience of financial advisors. You would focus on what would be important to that group, not telling going into a long winded explanation how to do the classic 4 step approach for bowling.
There are a lot of parallels with the fear of public speaking and shyness in social situations. Over the past 20 years I have been honing my presentation training by studying public speaking as a member of Toastmasters. Both within my club with fellow members and out in the public I regularly challenge myself by delivering presentations and speeches.
Brainstorming is effective for boosting a lot of skills. But effective use of brainstorming is the most important. Before going to the dais think again and again about the topics or issues that could be covered in the speech. Write it down in a small piece of paper and take it with you to the dais. Try to say two or three sentences about the topics written in your paper. Do not try to brainstorm while you are at dais. The people who are efficient enough can brainstorm even while they deliver their speech. But it is not effective specially for those who are new. Mostly it happens that, the new public speakers try to brainstorm at the dais, found their brain blank and get nervous.
OAlways be prepared. Do research if needed before the speaking event. Pay close attention to the changes or happenings going on, for this will give you more ideas to share and more involvement from the crowd.
Jot down the things you should correct and then do it again. Each time you are going to get better. So when the public speaking event finally approaches you will have lots of practice and a lot more familiarity.