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Tips for public speaking and confidence

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How to deal with nerves when speaking in front of an audience

I see many people who struggle with nerves when they need to get up in front of people and speak to them. This can vary from work situations, where you need to give an important business presentation to Best Man speeches at weddings where either the best man, groom or father of the bride may be shaking with nerves during something that should really be great fun and a pleasure.

As a radio presenter with thousands of hours of live shows for the BBC, a trained actor and a man who even used to be a stand up comedian I like to think that alongside my hypnotherapy I really can help people with fears like these from the point of view of someone who was in the same boat.

It may seem that I don’t suffer any of the worries that many people do but I was just like anyone else at first. I just found ways to make things easier and by doing this I also really enjoy being in front of an audience. It’s important not to underestimate that fact that speaking to people should be fun and not be a chore.

Many people may tell you how to beat those nerves, but how many can talk about it from a personal point of view?  I hope these tips help show you that it can be a pleasure and not a chore.

  •   Take a deep breath and relax.  I know that sounds simple, and maybe obvious to you, but that physical action of taking a deeper breath, holding it for a moment and then letting it go a few times really does calm you down. I have spoken in front of small and large numbers of people and I still make sure this is something that I do every time. It also really helps me to focus. It just takes me away from any stressful thoughts and calms me down both physically and mentally
  •      Talk about something that you know. This sounds obvious, but it’s really something worth thinking about. You need to feel comfortable with what you are saying and knowing your subject is going to help you immensely. If you are in a work situation then you are most likely doing it because you are the best person. In your social life, it’s most likely the same!
  •      Make some cue cards. You don’t want to be reading from a piece of paper as that would just be boring. So, jot down some key words that help you to know where you are. There is nothing worse than listening to someone just read from a piece of paper. Unless you are Patrick Stewart, it’s going to be a little boring. If you know your subject then a few words to help you along will be all that you need. Those cards will always be there if you need them and you may not even use them at all. They can be invaluable as something to help boost that confidence.
  •       Don’t worry about what the audience think about you. Put yourself in their shoes. They want to be informed and entertained by you, they are willing you to succeed. They are on your side. So, don’t be afraid to pause and take a breath any time that you need to. It’s important to know that they most likely want to hear what you have to say, they are waiting on you, and you are in charge.
  •     Remember it’s not school. At school we were picked on at the last minute asked questions we maybe didn’t know the answer to and perhaps even made to look foolish. That was a long time ago and now YOU are in charge of things, so it’s all down to your preparation. If you know your subject you can’t go wrong.
  •     ENJOY IT!  If you enjoy it then the chances are that your audience will too. And the more you enjoy it the more that you will find you wish to do it even more.

 Of course there are lots of other ideas and exercises that you can do. This is just the start and if you remember one thing, remembers that the people who are listening want you to do well as much as you do. They are on your side and, unless you are in a bear pit late night comedy show at Edinburgh....they really want you to do well.

If you would like some more one to one help with presentation nerves or a speech that you have to give then you can contact me on info@markpowlett.co.uk or call me on 07980 233160

Whether it’s a best man speech at a wedding or a talk to clients for your business, I can help.

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