How to prepare for a public speaking engagement
Few things in life are more stressful than preparing for a public speaking engagement.
Whether you're a student preparing for a group presentation or a seasoned business professional with years of experience, the feelings are often the same. In fact, studies show that the majority of people feel anxious or nervous in this situation - your feelings are totally normal!
The important thing to remember is that good preparation is key to getting rid of those feelings and delivering a memorable speech that excites your audience.
Here are the preparation techniques that you can use to help yourself fall calm, cool, and collected.
Put Things Into Perspective
Irrational thoughts and fears have a tendency to quickly spiral out of control. Your initial worry will snowball into full-blown anxiety if you don't put your thoughts into perspective.
You're not the first person to ever make a speech. Millions of people have done it and each day, there will be millions of speaking engagements taking place. It's a simple fact of life and it's no big deal.
If you find that your worry starts to spike during your preparation, you should come back to these thoughts and regain a sense of composure. Always return to these thoughts which will act as an island of calm.
Set Your Goal
Why exactly are you performing your speaking engagement? Will it help your academic or professional career? Will your unique insight help your audience to learn?
Thinking about the purpose of your speech is a powerful way to combat anxiety as you prepare. Nietzsche wrote that a person with a "why" can live to bear any "how". If you understand why you are speaking, the mechanical act of speaking becomes secondary and a simple action that must be performed to meet a goal.
If you ever feel like giving in while preparing, just come back to this goal and why the your life will be better after achieving it.
The world of sports psychology shows that practice really does make perfect. Take soccer players, for instance, who work around the clock to perfect their specific shots and free kicks.
By putting in the right amount of practice, you can rest assured that you will succeed. The more you practice, the calmer you become, and the better your speech will be!
Do not feel embarrassed to practice alone. This will help you get used to the sound of your own voice - it's the silence while speaking to an audience that shocks a lot of speakers.
A lot of success comes down to properly visualizing what success looks like. Sports stars often describe how vividly they picture success, and psychological studies demonstrate that simply imagining performing well can help with actual performance.
Focus on the positives and think about how great you're going to do. When negative feelings or images come into your mind, simply let them pass. Imagine your negative images as buses passing in your mind - acknowledge them, but don't get on for the ride.
We hope that these simple tips help you to prepare for your public speaking engagement. We're sure that you're going to do brilliantly and enjoy an experience you will be able to look back upon with lots of pride!