Instant Audience Nudity! (And 6 More Public Speaking Tips)
Do you know what the majority of people fear the most? Death? Divorce? Dieting? The answer, of course, is public speaking. Great public speakers are like tremendous athletes. It’s frustrating to the rest of us because their finesse and competence makes it look effortless. In fact, the greatest athletes often practice more than anyone else, and the most charismatic speakers are often professionals that have honed the craft of carrying a room. Additionally, elite performers of every field feel anxiety and fear. They just know how to use these emotions as a positive force.
Rather than letting anxious feelings keep you down, use these 6 tips to harness and leverage that energy:
1. Play a Role
Natural charismatics always seem to know just what to say. They anticipate audience response and use their foreknowledge to captivate with rhetorical skill and technique. They are playing a role in a play of social interaction. By thinking about social interactions as a game of role players, you open yourself up to stepping into any role you desire.
2. Anxiety Is Your Friend
Stage fright can be crippling. People can sweat, feel weak in the knees, and even tremble when confronted with the very idea. Why does something as benign as simply standing up and talking in front of a group of people have such a profound effect? Because as innately social creatures, we’re wired to respond powerfully to how others view us. Try to imagine your anxiety as simply your body’s physiological response to an unusual circumstance. Instead of letting feelings of anxiety cripple you, utilize their energy to excite yourself and your audience.
3. Remember You Aren’t Super-Human
Beta-blockers, or beta-adrenergic receptor antagonists, are a class of drugs used to treat heart conditions. Because they also tend to lower the physiological symptoms of the flight-or-fight response, professional speakers, musicians, actors, and other performing artists sometimes use them to settle their nerves. This is obviously not a suggestion, but is rather meant to illustrate that even the most talented among us are not super-human. Everybody understands the pressure of public speaking. They will give you the benefit of the doubt if they see effort and humanity. They are hoping to be entertained and informed and are in your corner.
4. Use Humor and Likability
It’s a classic recommendation to open a speech with a joke. But injecting humor into your public speaking can be more sophisticated than a simple setup and punch line followed by a slideshow. Often, the best humorists don’t tell traditional jokes at all. They tap into the emotions of their audience and use their own humanity to elicit laughter. If you can weave together speech that lets your personality shine through, you’ll add emotion to your words, and your audience will be ready to follow your lead, whether it is toward humor or any other emotional destination.
5. Unleash the Charismatic Within
Charisma is within anyone’s reach, at least for a short speech. Watch your favorite public speakers and try to discern exactly what makes them so captivating. Copying a bit from experts is great for building some confidence. Practice your speech. Practice it alone in front of a mirror, in front of someone you trust, record it watch it yourself. When speech day arrives, show up early and get a feel for the room. Introduce yourself to some of the audience before you begin if possible.
Be prepared for questions and even throw in a couple for your audience. Interacting directly with members of the audience brings a further personal touch to your speech, as well as giving you a real chance to demonstrate your authority. If somebody asks a question during an event and receives an engaging answer, chances are good they’ll never quite forget the experience.