Why is it that as soon as the term public speaking is mentioned many people start to feel a dread creeping up inside them? Having a conversation with a few people is something that most people do quite naturally, but if they are suddenly asked to stand up in front of everyone and carry on speaking to them, this can feel very unnatural and it brings a totally different perspective to the situation. Immediately a fear sets in and the person can longer speak with the same ease that they had before.
So what is it that stops us from maintaining a relaxed style when we go from speaking in an informal conversation to speaking in public?
Use your natural resources to conquer the fear
One of the most common reasons why we are not able to maintain a calm relaxed manner when we have to stand up and speak in public is a fear of embarrassment. We are afraid to make fools of ourselves and because of this we don’t take full advantage of all the natural personal resources we have to help us break through the fear factor.
One of our most powerful resources is ourselves. What we do physically when we speak in front of an audience can have a tremendous impact on how we feel.
For example – try the following exercise standing in front of a mirror:
- Hunch your shoulders
- Hang your head down
- Look towards the floor
Now try to introduce yourself in a positive and enthusiastic way. It’s almost impossible to do.
Now try again but this time but this time stand in front of the mirror
- Straighten your back
- Lift your head
- Look directly in front at yourself
Feel the difference compared with the first time.
What you have done is given yourself a strong starting position that helps you to look more confident to your audience. If you do this before you start to speak in public, you are bound to feel more confident.
You can do a similar thing if you have to speak sitting down. Take a strong sitting position with your back fully supported by your chair, your feet on the floor and ideally your arms in an open relaxed position.
Make the most of your body language for public speaking
There is no prescribed starting position that is best for you. It just needs to be something that works well for you and doesn’t give out any negative body language signals that you are unaware of but the audience will be very aware of.
Here are some exercises to try out – to help you become more aware of how to transfer negative body language into positive body language:
- Hunch your shoulders and then release them – feel the difference when they are lowered
- Grasp your hands tightly together and then shake them out and let them hang loosely at your sides to allow a more open body language
- Lean into one leg and then adjust your balance so that it is evenly placed on two feet – feel how much stronger this stance it
- Frown as much as you can and then release as if your forehead is being ‘ironed out’ This is good to do in front of a mirror – to see the different effect it will have on your audience.
Once you have found a good starting position, practise getting into it. The more you practise it the more it will become automatic to do before you start to speak. By creating a strong starting position of your own, this will help you to generate more self-confidence and help you to control of any fears or anxieties you may have about speaking in public.
Public speaking coaching
For most people, becoming more successful at public speaking is a relatively slow and painful process with many never really achieving their true potential.
But it doesn’t have to be like that.
You can quickly develop these skills with Skillstudio through expert coaching and practice. And by enhancing your public speaking skills you will be able to develop a much stronger influence on your audiences and reap the business success that goes with that.
To get some coaching in public speaking, click on one of the links below:-
Skillstudio also offer public courses, 1-2-1 coaching and in-house training in many aspects of presentation skills and communication skills, including public speaking, vocal skills and body language awareness.
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