Public Speaking Tips
- Remember that it is normal to experience some degree of public speaking anxiety when engaging in presentations and that a certain amount of arousal actually facilitates performance.
- Rehearse your speech or presentation. Should you be concerned about your mannerisms, eye contact and so forth, practice giving your speech in front of a mirror or get someone to videotape your performance.
- Should you be worried that your public speaking anxiety will lead to your mind going blank, write down the key points of your talk on palm cards and take them with you, so you will have something to trigger your memory.
- Remember that public speaking is only one aspect of your job, personal or university life. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses, so if anxiety is making presentations difficult for you, rest assured that you have other areas where you are talented. You can’t be good at everything so don’t place unreasonable expectations of perfection on yourself. You probably wouldn’t expect your best friend to be perfect so how about being you own best friend and giving yourself a break.
- Don’t panic and don’t get argumentative or defensive if someone in the audience asks you a question you can’t answer, or makes a critical comment. This situation can be handled smoothly and with minimum disruption to your presentation if you pay the person a genuine compliment.
When someone is attacking what you have presented, tell yourself that it may be that they are insecure and jealous that you are in the spotlight getting the attention that they crave and:
1. Make sure you praise them.
This will flatter him and hopefully take the wind out of his sails (Burns,1999).
Difficult questions For example, if someone has asked you a difficult question say “That’s an excellent question Thankyou for asking it”. If you can’t answer it then say “I’ll have to look into that and get back to you….” Likewise, if someone has made a critical comment thank him for drawing the point to your attention. Refraining from getting defensive and argumentative will help you to come across well to the audience as a friendly person who is open to feedback.
2. Find Some Point of Agreement With Your Challenger
Agree with the person on some level. Again you have to resist your gut instinct to get defensive and argumentative. Finding some point of agreement, however small, with your challenger, helps you appear to be an open minded person to the audience.(Burns,1999).
Try to anticipate the tricky questions or critical comments that people may make about your presentation and prepare appropriate responses; remembering to compliment the person for their question/comment and to find some point of agreement with them, no matter no minor (Burns,1999).