Do you find public speaking scary? I do (even as a theatre graduate). However in my day job I regularly have to give talks, introduce acts and projects and constantly meet new people, all of which has given me a little more confidence when it comes to grabbing a mic. When I run events I also have to host them, and Crafternoon Cabaret Club would be nowhere near as much fun if I was too nervous to talk to everyone. So over time I’ve picked up a few tips and tricks that help me with public speaking, which I thought I’d share with you here:
- Plan. If you get nervous easily you may not want to rely on winging it when it comes to public speaking. Write notes, or even a full script if you want. While you don’t want to be clutching paper if you’re only saying two lines writing everything down so it’s clear in your head should make you feel confident about what you need to say, which will help you deliver that information more clearly.
- Breathe. Take a few deep breaths before heading up in front of the crowd. Try and centre yourself and stay calm
- Work out what to do with your hands. OK this might be one mainly for me but does anyone else out there go a bit wild with the gestures when they speak? I do! My hands wave, I do this odd wheely motiion and generally they go all over the place (I know this from the many many terrible photos that have been taken of me speaking to a crowd). If this is you then having something to hold can really help – a mic stand, a clip board, a notebook… just make sure it’s not anything so distracting that people will be looking at that instead of you. I like to steady my hands by holding an example of the item we’re making that day, or an official looking clipboard!
- Ground Your Feet. Similar to the above but for feet!! It can be really distracting when people sway or don’t stop moving when they give presentations, and it’s also a sure fire tell for when someone is nervous. You don’t need to be a statue but be mindful about how you’re standing. Try and spread your weight across both feet so you’re not feeling like you’re going to topple over. Standing straight and tall is also meant to make you feel more confident so it’s a win win!
- Be yourself! Ultimately you’ll be at your most confident when you’re just being yourself. I love when I can see someone’s personality shine through when they present an idea – make the most of yours.
Do you have any tips or tricks you use when public speaking? I’d love to hear them