what are the wrong impressions people have about the art of public speaking?
I think I'm qualified to answer this as I have a totally stupid fear of public speaking.
1, I imagine that my performance has to be perfect, which it never can be and so I worry about it.
2, I always imagine that only certain (confident) types of people can pull it off correctly, and I am far from confident.
3, I always imagine that no one will be interested in what I have to say.
I'm sure there are more.
That good public speakers and are not shy or that they are passionate about the subjects they speak on. I don't believe this to be true. I am a good public speaker but not what you would call a "people person". I don't like crowds or social events of any kind. What I do have is a working knowledge of many different things, and a good feel for the climate of a crowd. After all you have to speak on something that your audiance wants to hear about and you have to have done more research than MOST of them have. People tend to differ to people who they think know more about a subject than they do in a public setting. Next you have to prepare. Will you be "preaching to the choir" or trying to convert them to your line of thought. Most importantly you have to envision how it will go. See yourself making the presentation(or whatever). Make yourself "bullett points that you want to get across and when they should come (timeline). That way you don't tend to ramble as I have done here. Don't be to passionate or emotional. Think clearly and stick to your game plan and timeline.
That only charismatic, confident people can pull it off. I have done some public speaking, though not a lot. The first 5 minutes are the hardest. Here is what I do when I know I have to speak:
* I prepare very thoroughly.
* I write down key points, not a script. I keep my notes short and sweet. Too much information will overwhelm you.
* I try to come up with good illustrations for points I want to make.
* If appropriate, I use some humor
* I look at my audience, which is hard to do yet for me, but I force myself. If a person I look at has no expression on their face, I cannot assume he is not interested in what I'm saying, but I do look at other faces then and let them know i am speaking to themm, not just to the air.
* I don't panic if I miss a point or stumble over words. Everyone does that. Nobody cares. You can either keep going, or make the correction calmly, possibly humorously, and/or confidently.
*Practice, practice, practice. Not neccessarily out loud, but that wouldn't hurt a time or two just to get the timing write (can I do this in the alloted 29 minute time period?) I mentally prepare. Not script like, but what in general I'm going to say, the key points that are most essential.
* The morning I know I am going to speak, I don't spend the hours leading up to my talk going over and over and over it. It only builds more stress. Take a few minutes and look over your notes then relax. If your uptight while talking, it will show.
* I am myself. If I try to be like someone else when I speak, I fall flat. People can spot of phony. As long as I know what I want to say, I am okay to be myself. That's where you get your confidence.
For half my life I was terrified to speak in front of people. On oral book report day I always faked being sick so I didn't have to do it. I was a wall flower until well into my adulthood. At one point in my life, I started paying attention to friends and family members who were very sociable and learned some things about how to converse with people. I got involved in things where I had to hear speakers, not for that reason, but it just happened. I pay attention to the better speakers and determine what makes that person such a good speaker. I just plain pay attention and learn from others.
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