Many people don’t learn how to become a speaker because of fear. While speaking can indeed be scary, it offers many advantages for growth. Here are tips to be a good speaker and gradually overcome that fear.
Play to your strengths
People usually have a number of skills or fields where they are experts. This can be the case because of work that they do, or their life experiences. Speaking can be intimidating if you’re going to talk about something you don’t know well. You can stack the odds in your favor by talking about something within your expertise.
This is true for everyone. You can talk about what it’s like living in your hometown. You can discuss the tips you learned after changing your millionth dirty diaper. You can discuss the qualifications for the work you do, and so on.
Keep on speaking
It isn’t enough to practice speaking in your head or to write down speeches. That’s only part of the process. The main part is actually getting in front of a live audience and delivering. It’s where you can learn some of the most lasting lessons.
So you need to find opportunities to speak. Thankfully, you can usually find something in your city or town. Look for organizations such as Toastmasters International, and other venues where people can speak. There’s nothing quite like the adrenaline rush of putting it all on the line.
An audience of thousands can understandably be a frightening prospect. The good news is that you can start somewhere smaller. In fact, you can start with just one person. Choose someone you trust and deliver your speech to him or her.
It could still be scary, but the smile of a supportive friend can work wonders. This practice will give you an opportunity to ask for feedback. Ask your friend or spouse what you can do better and what you do well. Then, adjust and keep on practicing.
Use a mirror or video
Sometimes people can have nervous habits which they’re not aware of. The speech delivery itself is stressful, so they miss out on their nonverbal language. That’s why it’s important to look at yourself when you speak. Use a mirror or record your speech with a video camera or application.
Take note of what your hands are doing. Where do you look? Are you smiling and do you look open and confident? If you don’t feel these things, fake them until they become true.
Being a good speaker can open doors in your professional and personal life. Don’t hold yourself back unnecessarily. Keep these tips in mind and keep practicing. Over time, you’ll get there.