When it comes to public speaking, we’re all different. For some people, it can come easily, and for others, it can feel as if the world is crumbling down. Especially when you’re trying to speak without sounding like you don’t know what you’re talking about.
It’s frustrating. But keeping quiet and not practising will not make it better. This can be in the workplace, in school, even in social settings.
Is the right time to get exposed to it? A good starting point would be these observations I’ve made over the past few years:
1. Set a target for networking events and conferences
It’s very easy to go to networking events and decide to only speak to one person before the event starts. One lesson I learnt was to go to an event with the intention of having spoken to three other people.
Speaking to more than one person helps you deal with different kinds of people. It also helps you learn how people react to you speaking, and in learning how to interpret people’s body language.Speaking to more than one person helps you deal with different kinds of people Click To Tweet
Learning someone’s body language will help in determining in whether or not they’re interested in what you’re saying. People become disinterested during conversations therefore the more networking events you attend or more people outside your circle you interact with, the more you learn to be able to turn the conversation around.
Even though this isn’t public speaking, learning to read people’s body language in a smaller setting can feed into how you interpret people’s interests and attention span in larger crowds.
2. Join Toastmasters
One of the best pieces of advice received a few months ago was to join Toastmasters to help overcome my fear of public speaking. This was, and still is a daunting idea.
Firstly, it requires that you actually speak in front of people you wouldn’t initially know. But this is a great way to learn, and also a good step towards overcoming your fear.
You could also bypass attending the networking events, because joining a Toastmaster’s club helps you get right into speaking in front of people. But it’s important to take baby steps and move at your own pace.
It becomes second nature to you the more you are acquainted with people and the art of public speaking.
3. Volunteer to facilitate meetings and workshops
If you’re in corporate and can get the chance and experience to facilitate a meeting or workshop, then volunteer to do so.
One of the best, and most challenging aspect about this is that you’ll find that you’ll be speaking to different people at different meetings or workshops.
This is where studying the body language and possibly joining a Toastmaster’s club will come in handy.It's important to keep calm and take a few pauses to get over your fear of public speaking Click To Tweet
4. Prepare yourself and keep calm
Prepare yourself and keep calm before any public speaking that you do. Especially when you’re still in the beginning stages of trying to overcome your fear of speaking in public.
Write a few notes to keep yourself on track and keep these with you during public speaking. But it’s also important to keep calm, take a few pauses in between.
Taking those few pauses will help you process whether or not you have been speaking too fast. The audience will also receive your message clearly when you speak calmly.