Starting a conversation with someone, let alone speaking in public, can be a nerve-wracking experience for many people. As the nerves set in, you may find yourself tongue-tied and it may seem that your mind went blank. This can happen to anyone at least once in his lifetime. But you should not avoid giving a presentation or talking to someone just because you become nervous in front of an audience. Thankfully there are self-help books and tips like the ones below, which can help you to talk with ease.
- Get enough practice by making small presentations for your family and friends. Look for a familiar topic and start practicing by making presentations in front of family or friends. Your familiarity with the audience will make you comfortable and at ease. Start with a small group and gradually increase the size of your audience by asking your friends and family to bring new people in. As you get enough practice you will not mind the size of the audience and will be able to treat them in the same way that you faced your initial smaller audiences.
- Know your subject by heart. Some of the fear associated with public speaking is due to the lack of knowledge about the subject. This can easily be remedied by knowing your material thoroughly. This means getting all the latest updates and facts and figures, as well as interesting anecdotes that can help you start your presentation on a lighter note and engage the audience early on.
- Avoid memorizing the content of your presentation. While talking with ease stems from your thorough knowledge of your presentation material or your subject, you should never memorize your presentation. This is because the moment you miss something, everything will go awry. It will be difficult for you to get back to your presentation once you have forgotten the next point to be discussed. What you should remember are the general gist of your presentation and the points that need to be stressed and use your knowledge of your material to fill in the gaps.
- Make your presentation appealing with eye-catching colored graphics. If you are going to use tools for your presentation, use colored images and charts and pies instead of bullet points, which will be included in your presentation handouts, anyway.
- Use a visualization technique to reduce your stress. This is a technique used by a lot of successful people from athletes to heads of major corporations. This helps them to focus and deaden sources of distraction. Learn to visualize a good, fun and solid presentation each time you have to speak to an audience.
- Go to the venue of the presentation early and introduce yourself to the members of the audience who come in early. Invariably these people will sit in the front row and your new-found acquaintances can help you feel at ease. Keep eye contact with them during the course of your presentation to help remove your tension.
Remember that your audience is there because there is something that they will learn from you. This knowledge alone should help you to feel at ease. Once you have gotten the hang of speaking in front of a crowd it will not matter if you are speaking to a group of ten or to three hundred people. Keep yourself updated on various topics and you will have a subject matter to discuss with almost anyone.