For a vast majority of us the very idea of standing in front of a group of co-workers, clients or even strangers, causes us to, at the very least, feel butterflies in our stomachs. Even though I have been a public speaking coach here in Charlotte NC for some time, I still get this feeling from time to time. This is just the beginning of a stressful process, right? It really doesn’t have to be. There are a few ways in which you can de-stress the process for yourself.
First, the most important thing is know your topic. When you are required to speak, do not go in there with little or no prep work. This leads to errors and more stress when questions come up. Research your subject and pick a few a few things, say two or three things to talk about and really learn those things. This lets you know your material and gives you the confidence you need to answer questions and inform your audience to the best of your abilities.
Secondly, when the time comes to actually speak with your audience, remember to breathe. Your audience in most cases are willing to listen, be respectful and courteous to you if you do the same. Getting your point across does not mean everyone agrees with you. It just means that you have explained yourself as best as you can.
Making sure that you follow through the first steps of research and study on your part goes a long way to ensure this. Relaxation techniques and taking calming breaths before you speak can also help put you in a more even frame of mind.
There are a lot of other things to consider to help you de-stress the process of public speaking but remember this: you do not have to be perfect. Public speaking does not have to be scary. No matter how many eyes are on you, act as if you are talking to a small group of professionals in a manner that is informative, easy to understand, and accessible for them.
Allow yourself to be calm, give yourself time to prepare, and act as if you are speaking to only a few people. You take these steps and with some practice public speaking can be a much easier process for you.
Sonja Stetzler is an award winning public speaking coach in Charlotte NC. She enjoys helping others learn effective connecting techniques to become better public speakers.