Public speaking is something many individuals struggle with, both inside and outside the workplace. Although it is a very common fear, it doesn’t have to be intimidating. The following are a few tips to help you improve your skills. 

It’s Normal to Be Nervous

You’re not alone in your fear of public speaking. It causes many people to be anxious, which results in physical symptoms like sweaty palms or feeling trembly. Don’t let yourself believe that these are signs that you are doing poorly. Instead, channel your nerves into ensuring that you are properly prepared. The best way to combat any anxiety is to make sure that you practice often. Take time to memorize your speech and practice it with a friend. You can also videotape yourself and review the tapes later. 

Make Sure You’re Properly Organised 

One of the best ways to ensure your speech runs smoothly is to make sure that you’re perfectly prepared. This begins before you even write your speech. Brainstorm topics that will keep the audience engaged. Create a framework with great opening and closing statements, and properly organise the body of the speech. 

Be Yourself

Try to let your personality shine through your speech, much as you would in a normal conversation. This helps the audience perceive you as genuine and engaging. Share personal experiences if they are relevant. Audiences normally enjoy anecdotes, as stories help them feel more connected to you. Don’t be afraid to insert some humor into an otherwise dry speech. 

Try to avoid reading straight from a script, and instead use a general outline to help keep you on track. If you’re staring a script the whole time, you won’t be able to make eye contact with the audience. 

Don’t Forget About Unspoken Cues

Remember that much of conversation is nonverbal, even when public speaking. Avoid nervous gestures such as playing with your hands or shuffling your notes. You want your message to be clear and not have your audience get distracted by any other gestures. You also don’t want your speech to be boring. Don’t be afraid to incorporate meaningful motions. 

Go Easy on the Visual Aids

Don’t overload your audience with excessive audiovisual aids. They are not meant to be the focus of your speech, but rather are meant to clarify your message. A few images or a short video clip will likely suffice.