How often do your knees shake when you have to say something on the stage? – Do you have to defend your thesis, give a presentation to your colleagues, or congratulate your beloved grandmother on her anniversary in a restaurant? How do we overcome the nagging terror that constrains our movements, freezes our tongues, and makes our brains forget articulate speech? You’ll find the answers to all these questions in our article.
Why are we afraid of public speaking? – Because of the fear of judgment, which has remained in use since school. Fear of judgment is deeply rooted in our culture, so I will give you an algorithm to help you cope with this feeling and enjoy speaking.
Your Audience Gets the Best of You
Remember: you have to go with a sincere desire to share with people the best of what you have (whether it’s information, algorithms, etc.). Then people will be grateful either way:
Either they get new information and tools,
or (if they know more about the topic), they will thank you for your sincerity.
People are more sensitive to emotion than words. In this case, there is nothing to be afraid of because your presentation will be evaluated by everyone as positive as possible (this will give you confidence in your preparation). It is what all real good preachers do. – They go out to the audience with a pure heart and speak their best (what they can tell at the moment) without worrying about structure. – They are thankful for the emotion, the message, and the information. But since you still need to prepare the material, I’ll give you an algorithm. It will help even if you’ve never done it.
1) Determine the purpose of the speech (what outcome you want). Most people say they want to convey information and tell you something, but that’s not the goal. Try to evoke an emotion, change people’s thoughts and beliefs, or motivate them to take action. Maybe you want to make people happy and believe in themselves, or their spirits rise. Or maybe you want to convince everyone that you are an expert, that you must protect the environment, support your project, work with you on the same team, or hire you.
When there are clearly articulated goals, you keep them in mind, and your presentation will be focused on that goal.
2) You need to decide who the audience is (so people can get more out of the presentation and your goals are realized). Try to understand:
- Who these people are;
- why they are listening to you;
- what they know about you or the issue/topic;
- What they are really interested in;
- what age they are;
- what examples they will care about.
This kind of analysis will get through to their minds and hearts.
3) Third, think about the format of the presentation (how long the presentation will take, will it only be a voice-over, or is there an additional visual component that needs to be prepared).
The Content of the Presentation
Once you understand these three things, you can get down to the content. The most common mistake is writing the entire text or wanting to put everything in the right order at once.
First, outline the content. Best of all, make a list of talking points or, if you know how to work with mind maps, make a big mind map (include everything you know about the topic there). There will, of course, be a lot more thoughts than you will eventually say, but you won’t have to fear that you’ll forget to add to your speech plan.
Now you can put them in order. If it’s a mind map, take a pen of a different color and arrange the sequence of blocks (that is, circle each block and determine what place it occupies in the canvas of the narrative). If it is difficult to sequence, resort to visualization. You can cut up the mind map itself or write the theses on the cards. By rearranging them among themselves and photographing the different choices, you won’t have to rewrite the structure every time you see it in the palm of your hand.
With most speakers, it’s the structure that suffers. If there is an ironclad structure for one minute, which you will run through many times and become perfectly-versed in it, then you can complement it, expand it (to three, five, ten minutes, an hour) and adjust it to the format you want. Having rehearsed a minute presentation, expand it to 3 minutes, then to 10 (and so on to the planned duration), and rehearse each option at least 2-3 times. It will give you a detailed, ironclad structure in which you will navigate perfectly.
We dread the first experience more than any subsequent ones, so rehearse each new performance. If it’s long, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to “run through” it more than once or twice. It is desirable not just to recite the text in front of the mirror but to recreate the stressful situation by fully telling your friends or acquaintances.
An important point: write down in advance all the questions that may arise on this topic, and collect questions from those to whom you will be telling. First, if you prepare answers, you can add missing information to the structure. Second, you will prepare yourself for questions that may arise, and you will feel more confident.
By following our advice, not only will you stop being afraid of public speaking and feel confident as a speaker, but you’ll also help your audience enjoy themselves.