Getting up in front of numerous people to speak is one of many people's worst fears. Staying focused on your topic while battling a racing heart and sweaty palms is not easy and even the most experienced public speakers get nervous. The larger the crowd, the more tense you may feel. But stay calm and remember to breathe. Public speaking is tough so take some of these tips into account before your next speech or presentation:
Redefine Your Audience
Instead of thinking of your audience as a group of people who are judging every word you say, think of them as something more comforting. Maybe they're a group of your friends and acquaintances or co-workers - people you see on a daily or weekly basis. Or think of them as your peers who are all going to speak after you, so they are probably just as anxious as you are.
Use Visual Aids
Having a power point or handing out a pamphlet to the audience gives them something to look at besides you and something for you to focus on besides them. It may also make it easier for the audience to understand what you're speaking about by seeing it in front of them.
Speak to Individuals
No matter how many people are in the audience, they are all individual people. Instead of speaking to the group as a whole, make eye contact with individuals and speak directly to them. This will give you the feeling of a more relaxed, personal conversation as opposed to a public speech and will give the individuals a more personal experience as well.
Confidence is an important trait in all aspects of life, especially public speaking. Even if you're not feeling confident, pretend you are and you will start to feel more and more confident. If you make a mistake, cover it up with confidence as insecurity will cause you to get frazzled and more mistakes could be made.
Public speaking is never easy but the most important tip is required - breathe. Take a minute before your speech to concentrate on your breathing which will help your mind and body to relax. If you feel your heart rate accelerating during your speech, take a couple seconds to take a few deep breaths to calm yourself back down.