Public speaking is one of the most feared obligations for the majority of humanity. Since most of you who are using portable PA systems will inevitably be engaging in public speaking, we’ve gathered some helpful hints to help ease your nerves and help you succeed in public speaking:
1. Calm Your Nerves
2. Do Not Read or Memorize Your Speech
Do not read your presentation from a laptop, notecards, and/or a teleprompter. Often when reading or memorizing your script word-for-word it can give off a monotone pre-recorded vibe, instead of keeping the audience engaged in your subject. Nobody wants to listen to a robot speak on stage. We get it, speaking in front of a live audience can be nerve racking, but the best thing you can do is practice your speech using an outline. Outline your intro, main topics, and conclusion. If you are familiar with your topic, this will help you stay on track with everything you have to cover, but allow you to speak more freely and sound more natural.
3. Eye Contact
Contrary to suggestions of scanning above the heads of your spectators, it can actually disconnect you from your audience. When speaking, make individual eye contact with people as if you are having an individual conversation with them. As you are speaking, choose one person to look at, finish an entire sentence or thought, and then move on to another person, until you are done speaking entirely. A great speech will engage their audience as if they are having a conversation WITH them, not just speaking AT them. Making eye contact throughout your speech creates a deeper connection with certain individuals, and a better overall relationship with your audience. Making eye contact also allows you to focus on an individual, instead of a large crowd.
4. Audio Amplification
When using a microphone or any sort of audio amplification to assist you in your presentation, additional factors may arise. Although a microphone can aid you greatly when speaking, it can also cause unnecessary distractions if you are not aware of the proper ways to use a mic. As a public speaker, you want eliminate any boundaries between you and your audience. Using a podium or lapel microphone can make your job a little easier so you can still use your hands for gesture and emphasis, but if your application calls for a handheld microphone (either wired or wireless), we suggest you hold it at a 45-degree angle downward just below your mouth. You want to grasp the microphone comfortably in your hand several inches away from your lips. Another tip worth noting is to make sure there is enough distance between the microphone that is being amplified and the speakers. Not enough distance between the two could result in hearing audio feedback. Lastly, make sure not to fidget with any buttons while giving your speech, you wouldn’t want to accidently turn off your mic.
5. Be Yourself
Last but certainly not least, it is crucial to remember to BE YOURSELF. The more you act true to yourself, the more confident you will appear, and the more confident you appear, the easier it is for your audience to relate to you. You do not have to be a perfect public speaker to convey a message; as long as you communicate the information to your audience effectively, you have done your job. Take control of the speech or presentation, don’t let the speech or presentation take control of you.
These 5 helpful hints to public speaking may not cure your anxiety of speaking in front of a live audience, but we hope they can ease the pain just a bit! Apply these tips next time you have to speak in front of a live audience, and we can rest assured you will succeed!