So you have a big speech coming up and you can already feel the sweat forming on your palms, the frog settling in your throat. Public speaking is not something to be fearful of, there is no inherent danger. If you can remember this aspect, you will be able to speak publicly. There's no need to be a part of the anxiety-ridden population when it comes to talking in front of groups or crowds - I have gathered some great tips that are bound to keep your nerves calm, the audience engaged, and a congratulatory “awesome” speech pat on the back.
First and foremost – Know your material, your focus, and topics. This will help to get rid of any anxiety about what it is you are going to speak about. Go throw your information free flowing, don't try and memorize, just let it sink in naturally. Also, become familiar with the facility you will be speaking. Knowing the room helps out a lot. You can visualize the audience, the speaker's podium, and any other key points.
As I mentioned earlier, do not memorize your speech. The worst thing you could do is come off monotone or robotic – this is the quickest way to have your audience lose sight and most likely begin sawing logs. Speaking of waking up audiences, there is no better way to get your audience engaged and entertained than showing them you have a sense of humor. Throwing a joke out there, an especially nice save for a speech though derailment, is an excellent way in connecting with your group as well on a human level. When public speaking, it is better to speak conversationally, the audience will be able to identify and follow.
Keep your speech simple. Public speaking can be very difficult when you have lots of ideas, many things you would like to “hit on,” but in all reality, most people's attention spans are pushed to their limits while watching television. So, make it simple. Talk about two to three key points and write in a style of language targeted for the group. Leave play room for ad lib or group participation. Engaging the audience in public speaking is one sure fire way to hear positive feedback. Remember to have focus on the topic and purpose, if you tend to stray off topic, tell yourself the key points and target.
Last but not least, most anxieties about public speaking stem from within. We are taught from a young age that talking in front of large groups of people is supposed to be a scary event. If you can remind yourself that you are not in control of the audience and nothing bad can ever happen to you while public speaking, you have the first set of anxieties beat. The next thing to remind yourself is you are not a professional speaker, and most of them had to overcome their fears as well. You do not have to brilliant or perfect when it comes to public speaking, just be yourself.