7 tips for speaking in public

We’ve all had situations were we have had to speak to a new person or, indeed, to a room full of new people! For some this can be crippling. But with these 7 tips you can master the fear of speaking with others.

Know your topic: This speaks for itself. Knowing your topic can mean that you come to the conversation with a sense of authority. You don’t need to show off, but have confidence. On the other hand you may not know anything about the topic, this is your chance to learn something new and takes the focus of you; some people love talking about their interest. Show interest.

Keep it slow: Speaking too quickly can really upset your confidence.  It can signal that you’re nervous or lack self-control, so try speaking slower. It does take practice; so practice! Eventually, you will gain confidence and present yourself in a controlled manner.

Listen: Listen to the other person and take cues off them. Wait a second or two to before joining in. This can help you to frame your response and indicates to them that they have been listened to.

Stay silent: You don’t always have to say something, sometimes saying nothing is very powerful. Let others fill that gap and see where the conversation goes.

Keep breathing: Being short of breath can lead to dizziness, confusion and speaking too fast. Steady breathing will help your voice to sound solid. Practice deep breathing all the way to your abdomen, it will help to clear your mind too. It will also help with relaxation, practice relaxing your shoulders, where a lot of tension can be held, this will help relax other areas of the body too.

Watch your tone: along with breathing and relaxation comes tone. The more tense you are the more likely you are to speak from “higher up” and the more pleading you may sound. If you can relax and talk from your chest it adds authority to your tone and you sound more confident.

Be mindful: Stay focused on the present and don’t lose where you are. Take a second to reconnect with the now. Recalibrate your breathing and then continue.

That’s it, follow these 7 tips, practice and practice some more and before you know it you’ll join in conversations without thinking about.