Be a confident public speaker | Hindustan Times
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Be a confident public speaker

Use these simple, time-tested techniques to make an impact on listeners.Chitra Jha Reports

education Updated: Jul 28, 2009 13:41 IST
Chitra Jha

If there is one thing that scares most people, it is the idea of speaking in front of an audience! A presentation or a speech can suddenly make one feel tongue-tied. However, in college and at work, we need to speak in front of groups and give presentations as a matter of routine. We cannot avoid this, and it need not be stressful.
Actually, speaking well in public reflects your confidence. Has someone ever told you that your thoughts and your feelings are connected? When you are terrified of public speaking and harbour thoughts of failure/ridicule, your already low confidence level plummets further. Some time-tested techniques help you overcome this fear:

n Smile. It will make you look and feel confident.
n Relax. Breathe out the tension from your body. Tell yourself that you are going to do a great job. Positive affirmations have a positive effect on the outcome. Foresee potential problems and think of solutions.
n Go over the event in your mind. Visualise yourself as a successful public speaker.
n Remember that thousands of people your age have learnt the art of public speaking.You are no less capable than any of them. If they could do it, so can you! Look at the presentation or speech opportunity as a scope for self-improvement.
n Rehearse well, but do not lose sleep worrying about mistakes. Your audience does not expect perfection from you. The more perfect you try to be, the more anxious you will become.
n Be well prepared to handle any questions on your subject. Have information handy.However, you do not need to learn all the facts by heart. In any case, your audience does not expect encyclopaedic knowledge. In fact,too many facts and figures make for a dull presentation. Instead, give these as printed handouts to add value to your talk.
n Focus upon two or three key points that will make an impact upon your audience. This will make your job much easier.
n Finally, speak slowly and deliberately. Do not rush through your lines.
Remember that the purpose of your presentation or speech is not to win the approvalof the entire audience.

If some people leave early, start dozing or look disinterested, do not take it personally. No one can ever get 100 per cent approval from their audience. No matter how good a job you do, someone will always find fault with it. That is human nature. The purpose of a presentation or a speech is to‘give’ something of value to your audience and not ‘get’ their approval, respect,etc. If you focus upon ‘giving’, you will not only become a confident public speaker, but in the bargain rise in your own esteem, too.

The author e skills coach, time-line therapist, and new consciousness writer. She can be contacted at