Published On: Wed, Jan 15th, 2020

How To Prepare The Right Way For A Speech

Whether you are having to speak in front of congress or your peers in college, there are going to be times in your life where you will need to get up in front of a large crowd of people (many whom you do not know), and deliver a speech.

Sadly, most of us dread this day because we fear that something really bad is going to happen. But like any other skill in life, with the right amount of practice, you can not only master it, but it can even become a career.

Just ask John Rogan, the founder of the magazine Motivational Speakers:

“I still remember the day when my professor asked me to present my paper at a teachers conference. I wanted to hide under a rock and never be seen. But once I pushed through that initial anxiety, I kept moving forward and learned what I needed to do to get up on stage. Once I finished my presentation, I never looked back and have been giving keynote and motivational speeches for over 15 years.”

If you ever want to get up in front of an audience, here are some tips to help deal with the fear or extreme nervousness of public speaking:

Positive Self-Talk
If you’re prepared, tell yourself! Telling yourself that you’re going to do great or that you’re entirely capable of delivering a great speech is incredibly helpful. However, if you’re like many professional speakers and can’t seem to convince yourself, having someone else tell you the same thing has an even greater effect. 

If you’re not presently with someone who can offer you some positive talk, call someone. Most people understand the nerves involved with public speaking and would be glad to let you know how great you’re going to do! If you’re, able turning your nerves into positive energy is often very useful. Speakers like Tony Robbins tend to do this minutes before a speech.

“The practice of positive self-talk is called ‘priming'” says Dan Smith from Keynote Speakers. “Like anything that requires a great deal of nerves, sometimes the best way to overcome them is by hyping yourself up.”

Your Nerves are Hardly Noticeable
Even though you may feel like you’re dying inside, your audience doesn’t see it as much as you feel it. If you’re shaking uncontrollably or your voice is completely unstable, then they’ll think you’re a bit nervous. 

However, those are happenings of drastic nerves and aren’t near as bad as you think they are while you’re speaking. I can’t count how many times I have finished with a speech, asked a peer how obvious my nerves were, and was shocked to find out they couldn’t even tell I was nervous when I felt like I was going to pass out from nerves.

photo/ Mary Pahlke

Make Eye Contact
This is different for everyone, but has some sort of effect on all speakers. Many speakers feel more comfortable when looking out and make direct eye contact with people in the crowd. It inspires me to deliver the speech well because people are actually listening! I know other people are weirded out by eye contact, though. If you’re one of those people, try looking over people’s heads. Finding a spot about the level of your audience’s heads in the back of the room makes your face visible to the audience without intimidating you as the speaker. Figure out which you prefer, and then exercise it next time you’re speaking in public.

The Feeling Afterword
For me, sometimes this is the best way to calm my nerves about a speech. I know that afterword, I will have a huge stressor lifted off of my chest. While preparing for a speech, I’m focusing on doing a good job, but mostly looking forward to the feeling of accomplishment and adrenaline high that comes directly after delivering the speech. Even if you feel like you are too tired to enjoy anything after the speech, enjoy the rest you’ve earned! The important thing is to have some sort of reward for yourself after the speech is delivered.

Author: Sam Jones

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