If you’re afraid of public speaking, you’re not alone. Nearly everyone has a phobia of speaking in public. Fortunately, there are plenty of techniques that can help you calm those fears and become a successful public speaker.
The main concern is to build your confidence; without it, your self-doubt can become your downfall. Once you break through that barrier, though, you can become a better public speaker than you ever thought you could be. Much of this is developed through careful preparation.
In this article, a world-renowned license plate collector and a former public official Michael Wiener discusses techniques to help you improve your public speaking skills.
Accept Your Nerves
Every person to speak in public has been nervous. Getting up in front of a crowd of people, or any size audience for that matter requires strength and belief in yourself. That’s why it’s important to understand that feeling nervous is completely normal, and it shouldn’t hold you back from delivering a great speech.
Write Everything Down
A big mistake people make is assuming that speaking doesn’t require writing, but it does.
Writing down what you want to say helps you formulate ideas, make necessary changes, and—most importantly—give you a plan. Taking the time to figure out your speech can also calm your nerves, as it gives you an opportunity to digest every word.
Keep It Simple
Keep your language easy to understand, and don’t go over the top with visual images, if you plan to use any. That can detract from the message and be too much for the audience to absorb. Just keep it simple and let your personality emerge.
Consider Your Audience
Who is going to be in the audience? Are they experts on the topic you’re presenting on? These are important questions to consider when writing your speech. Your audience should be able to understand whatever you’re talking about.
If so, they are more likely to understand complex jargon. If not, it’s better to keep it easy to understand using simpler language, and if you’re going to use any terms they might not understand, make sure to define them.
Practice Makes Perfect
Winging a speech is a bad idea. Practicing your speech builds confidence and aids in keeping you on track when you are delivering it. If you can, practice in front of people you know to help you feel more comfortable speaking in front of an audience.
Act Confident, Even If You Don’t Feel Like It
People are less likely to believe a person knows what they are talking about if they are timid. It makes them look unsure. That’s why acting confident is so important. So, stand up straight and smile. Even if you don’t feel confident, acting like it boosts your attitude and will make the audience trust your words.
Lastly, don’t forget to breathe. Before you go out to deliver your speech, take a deep breath. This will help calm you. If you need to, write spots where you want to breathe during your speech. It might sound like a funny idea, but it points out where it would be the most natural place to pause and breathe, rather than having to take a deep, awkward breath mid-sentence.
About Michael Wiener
Michael C. Wiener of Albuquerque New Mexico is a world-renowned license plate collector, researcher, and consultant. He is considered to be America’s leading authority regarding automobile license plates and motor vehicle licensing systems. By the time he was 23, he had visited all 50 states and has now explored over 100 countries across the globe. Mr. Wiener was elected as an Albuquerque City Councilor, a New Mexico State Senator, and a Bernalillo County Commissioner.
He was elected twice as International President of the Automobile License Plate Collectors Association (ALPCA), and has been featured on HGTV’s Offbeat America,” CNBC News with Brian Williams, and appeared in an episode of AMC’s Breaking Bad and was featured in New Mexico Magazine. Michael Wiener serves as a consultant for motor vehicle departments, law enforcement agencies, and television and motion picture producers on subjects related to motor vehicles and automobile plate history.
He has been nominated twice, by his peers, to the ALPCA Hall of Fame and was given the “Outstanding Leadership” Award by the Mid Region Council of Governments in 2013.
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