Most people I know feel one of two ways about public speaking: They either love it or hate it.
Speaking in public, though, is a fast-track marketing tactic that can help you increase your visibility and boost your brand. If you decide to embrace public speaking, here are 5 tips to help you maximize your presence in front of your audience:
#1: Rehearse and rehearse again
One of the reasons why people are so nervous about public speaking is because they are afraid they will forget what they want to say. That’s why it is essential to rehearse your speech multiple times before you present.
Consider rehearsing in front of a mirror, or better yet, record yourself with your smartphone or tablet. If you feel even braver, do a test run with a friend or family member. Not only are these good ways to get feedback, it will also help you get comfortable with others watching you.
#2: Don’t be afraid to use index cards
I once attended a wedding where the sister-in-law delivered the wedding toast by reading it from index cards. She had rehearsed it, but she had her cards there to help her. And you know what? There was nothing wrong with it!
A successful speech doesn’t always mean a memorized speech.
Index cards are a speaker’s best friend. Use them to help you deliver everything from your elevator speech to your signature talk. No one will think less of you for using them!
#3: Admit you are nervous
Depending on where you are presenting – and who you are presenting to – it may be okay to “spill the beans” about your nervousness. Most people get nervous before they speak, and showing your vulnerability will make your resonate with most of your audience. And sometimes, confession is good for the soul. If you profess that you’re nervous, you can push past it and get on with your content.
#4: Join Toastmasters
Toastmasters International is a membership organization with meetings around the world. It helps people learn how to perfect public speaking. Members review your presentations and provide honest feedback in a safe environment. They help you learn communication skills and take you through the steps you need to be a good public speaker. Check out their meeting location tool to find a meeting near you.
#5: Hire a voice coach
Many of the top speakers in the world hire voice coaches to help them be better public speakers. A voice coach will help you develop a great-sounding voice, build confidence about your voice and body language, and improve your sentence structure, diction and language. They can also help you get over any nervousness you have about public speaking. Hiring a voice coach is a great investment for speakers of any comfort level.
Don’t let nervous jitters or a fear of public speaking stop you from delivering your message in a big way! Take time to practice, use index cards, and find people to help you perfect your voice and message. Most people are not comfortable with speaking in public, so know you are not alone. However, if you make a commitment to public speaking, you will increase your visibility, which translates to more customers and referrals for your business.