Submitted Date 08/25/2019

Hi everyone! I'm back with another post about how to improve your public speaking. Some people feel natural in front of an audience, but that doesn't always mean there is room for improvement. For those who don't feel comfortable public speaking, it is never too late to face -- scratch that -- conquer your fear. So here are some extra tips to help you feel confident during your next presentation!

1. Practice Without Notes

During any kind of performance or presentation, there is a possibility that something will go wrong. We've all seen it and as awkward as it is even as an audience member, it is way worse for the speaker. After you've prepared your presentation, try to run through it with no notes, slides, or other guides. It may be difficult at first, but keep trying until you feel comfortable with yourself as the main guide for your presentation. This will build your confidence in your knowledge of the subject, which will also translate to the audience so they can trust that you know what you're talking about.

2. Create A Simple Outline

Once you've been able to practice your speech without notes, you will realize that sometimes too many notes can confuse you. If you have a long outline with even longer notes, you might be more engaged in your outline than your audience. Even if you've practiced with lengthy notes and didn't feel the need to look at them, you might get up in front of the audience and feel your nerves take control. When this happens, people tend to read their notes word for word, causing your presentation to feel unnatural and underprepared. Plus, with a page filled with words, it's easy to lose your place and begin to stumble. Avoid this by creating an outline that starts with a brief sentence of your main purpose and thesis. Don't include your introduction but just list the world simply within your structure. Follow this first point with a list of the large topics that will structure your speech (list these topics in one to three words). Below each of these topics, list a few main points (in two to three words) that you will discuss within each topic. Below the main points, also indent more briefly-worded subpoints and feel free to add brief indented examples below a certain subpoint. However, before you finish your outline, double-check to make sure your outline is brief and balanced. Then end the outline with the last point, which will simply list the word conclusion. This reduced guide to your public speaking will help you stay focused on your points and help you learn how to rely on your knowledge rather than your overprepared speech.

3. Look Good, Feel Confident

Speaking in front of a crowd can be daunted considering all eyes will be on you. However, being the center of attention isn't as nerve-wracking if you look your best! Pick out an outfit that is appropriate for the presentation, but that you also feel confident and comfortable in. If you look in the mirror and think you look great, you will have less judgment to worry about in front of an audience. If you can look at yourself in the mirror and feel like a star, you will shine in front of your audience!

4. Don't Let Mistakes Distract You

There is no such thing as a perfect public speaker. Sure, there's high society members who go through advanced training, but they can even make mistakes! Even if you're heart drops into your stomach from the most minor mistake, it's okay. Remember, it is perfectly normal and happens to the best of us. The smartest thing to do is power through instead of allowing it to shift your focus. If I'm going to speak in metaphors, I would say that just because you hit a speed bump, doesn't mean your car is totaled.

5. Ask for Feedback

There is nothing wrong in reaching out to someone who is experienced in public speaking or even a superior who you may be presenting to. The advice the give you, will end up being the advice that can amplify your speech to a higher level. Don't worry about the possibility of not getting a response, just focus on getting as much perspective as you can in order to combine this advice into the best approach for your presentation. With help from superiors, you will feel like you are delivering a superior speech!

Public speaking is different for everyone. Whether you see it as a fear you want to conquer or a skill you want to improve if you work hard and follow these tips you can reach your best potential!

If you would like to see more stories like this, check out my WriteSpike profile and be sure to comment your thoughts below. Also, follow me on Twitter (@emilyokonsky) for updates on new articles and writing projects. Thanks for reading!

Replace intimidation with curiosity. Be your authentic self with everyone you meet, so you make authentic connections.

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  • Ashley Aker 5 months, 3 weeks ago

    Hi, you made some excellent points. I have some formal training as a public speaker and I thought you highlighted some key areas to focus on. I thought I could help you out by making some suggestions. Your content is great, I think #2 in your list is a huge block of text and gets a little wordy. I think if you simplified your ideas they would read more clearly for your audience. In your introduction paragraph, I noticed the double dash (--) and you can create the mark I think you want (—) by holding the alt button and entering 0151 in the number pad on your keyboard. I look forward to reading more of your work. Thank you

    • Emily Okonsky 5 months, 3 weeks ago

      Hi Ashley, thanks for your feedback and helpful tip about the "–" mark!