It seems to me that the main reason why people get anxious about speaking in public is that they are not sure what is expected of them. If you have a speech or presentation to deliver, here are 15 tips to help dispel that anxiety by making sure you are well prepared.
Tip 1: Imagine you are speaking just to me and answer this question: What do you want me to know?
Tip 2: Tell me why should I care about what you want me to know.
Tip 3: Why do I need to hear it from YOU? What’s your special connection with the message?
Tip 4: Would you pay to hear YOU speak? If not, why not?
Tip 5: Record your voice and ask yourself and some close friends if your voice is attractive. If not, make changes.
Tip 6: What’s your reason for speaking? Money? Influence? Ego? Passion? When you are clear about it you’ll be more focused.
Tip 7: When you have credible answers to tips 1-6, write your Core Message (the ‘carry away’) in a single sentence. That’s the message you should drive home when you speak.
Tip 8: Develop your message in 3 streams of argument or thought, e.g. Problem / Consequence / Solution.
Tip 9: Decide on your call to action. What do you want people to do when you have finished speaking?
Tip 10: Create an opening ‘Hook’ — something unexpected or dramatic that grabs attention right at the start.
Tip 11: Write out and learn your opening and closing paragraphs. Just use prompts for the rest, to sound more natural.
Tip 12: Decide on the ‘point of arrival’ or climax of your speech or presentation and build up the energy to that point. Your second ‘climax’ should be at the end.
Tip 13: Practise in front of a mirror or camcorder. Watch your gestures and body language.
Tip 14: When you are confident of your text, answer (aloud) the questions in Tips 1-3.
Tip 15: Unless you are in a speech contest, don’t try to give a world class performance. Just be sincere and passionate.