Monday, 3 October 2011

Learning To Overcome Public Speaking Palpitations

You might know or work with certain individuals who approach the delivery of presentations with unbelievable gusto – we all do.  Never fear that you are some sort lost cause if you, on the contrary, are totally daunted and flawed at the prospect.  In fact, they are in the minority and you are in the majority, as public speaking ranks highly as a universal worst case scenario, striking untold terror in to millions of people worldwide.

However, like or not – and let’s be honest, in most cases we are definitely talking about like it not – you are more than likely to be called upon to give a number of presentations throughout your personal and professional life.  Confident and proficient public speaking is realistically within your grasp when you learn to believe in yourself and aim to master your craft.  Just like any other skill, it comes naturally to a gifted few, yet requires fine honing for most mere mortals.

You can and you will beat the palpitations caused by looming presentations.  Those ‘in the know’ have done so by learning about what are known as the five Ps of public speaking and by incorporating the wisdom of these simple lessons in to their codes of conduct and plans of action.

1)    Passion
It is imperatively important that you are passionate about the subject matter of your presentations.  If you are not fired up about it, why on earth would anyone else be?  Think about the know-like-trust theory.  The more you know about the topic at hand, the more you will hopefully like it.  Consequently, the more you know and like it, the more you will not only trust it, but you will also trust yourself to share your views about it, cojently and enthusiastically, with your audiences.

2)    Persistence
“If at first you don’t succeed, try, try and try again”.  Have a little mettle and do not get too down in the mouth if your first few presentations fall slightly short of the triumphs you had envisaged.  Keep your chin up and aim to deliver your presentations repeatedly if you can, noting the vast improvements you make each time.

3)    Positivity
Just before the delivery of your presentations, focus in on your ‘can do’ rather than your ‘can’t do’ mindset. Tell yourself that you can and you will knock your audience’s socks off with your dynamic presentations and deft delivery skills.  Glasses half full are infinitely more appealing than glasses half empty, so inspire yourself to go for it and spread some joy.

4)    Practice
Going overboard with the practicing of your presentations simply does not exist, as practice makes perfect.  Go through your presentations out loud to yourself, and also in front of trusted colleagues, family members or friends who will offer you firm yet fair feedback.  Then go back to the drawing board to redress any issues with your flow and wording.  If at all possible, it is also a great nerve soother to have a practice in the actual rooms in which your presentations will be delivered.  The environments will feel less hostile and more familiar to you.

5)    Preparation
Comprehensive preparation offsets a multitude of sins.  Once your subject matter has been agreed upon, your first port of call should be your own experience, backed up by copious research.  The coupling of what you know and what you have learnt will make preparing for your presentations much easier, free flowing and logical.  Your preparation also extends to a pre-understanding of your audiences.  Knowing about their age groups and levels of proficiency in the topics under the microscope gives you the competitive edge to pitch your content and style just so.