Public speaking: a nightmare or an exciting challenge? Either of this can come to the mind of a person who has been or will have to do public speaking.
Public speaking almost always causes stress. For some it may be eustress and for some distress. Some people believe that this difference is connected to the 2 continuum of personality: Introversion and Extraversion.
Introverts are mostly not good in public speaking while extroverts generally are good at it. This statement, even though, seems outright logical, is not always true. Both may not always excel in public speaking and again both might. There is no absolute causal relation found between the two as yet.
Introverts are people who tends to shrink from social contacts and to become preoccupied with their own thoughts and Extraverts are people who are concerned more with practical realities than with inner thoughts and feelings.
However, with regards to public speaking, both have scope for improvement. Here are a few ways in which both can improve their public speaking skills:
If you’re an introvert, you may be terrified or very anxious about publicly speaking. But you have some great benefits as well that you can put to use.
Most likely you will be very well planned in advance and will have well practiced your parts.
Also, you will not be attracted to the razzmatazz and will be more focused on delivering. Other introverts in the crowd too who are scared themselves of speaking up will be able to empathize with you more and will be less anxious themselves to ask you questions.
However, in order to outshine certain people in the crowd, you can adopt the ways below:
Keep your focus on your speech:
Remember to focus always makes you less nervous. Instead of thinking or filling yourself with nervousness, focus more on the job in hand, i.e., speaking. Always remember there will be people sitting in the crowd who will empathize with your situation and be attentive listeners. So instead of worrying about how you perform, think about how you will deliver.
Pretend the audience is your close group of friends:
Instead of thinking of the actual people sitting in the crowd, pretend and think of them as your own personal group of friends in front of whom you freely express and speak in general times. Conjuring them in your mind in this manner, will help you feel less anxious and will keep the momentum going. You will automatically feel more comfortable in opening yourself up.
Wearing the mask:
Sometimes the best idea is to put on the mask of an outgoing personality, even if you are not. This requires practice too, but it’s not an impossible task. Observe someone who is good at public speaking and pick up certain aspects you can adopt. Put on the mask and deliver to your best.
Create an atmosphere wherein the audience can relate to you:
Research the crowd you will be facing beforehand, if possible. That will give you a perspective on who all you will be facing. Once you know that, start with something that will connect the audience with you. Once the audience starts relating to you, it will be easier for you and the feeling of tension in you will reduce.
If you are an Extrovert, it’s very likely that you will be comfortable speaking in front of an audience.
It might even be an adrenaline rush for you. But the challenge most likely for you will be in keeping the audience connected with yourself.
Also the chances of getting carried away with the adrenaline at that moment and experiencing a shift in focus or getting diverted to a different topic might be there.
In order to avoid such situation and to stand out the best among other speakers, the ways mentioned below can be adopted:
Don’t run away with yourself and Make a double – end conversation:
Make sure you connect with the crowd and is not a one sided speaker. If you keep rambling, your crowd may not find any interest in your speech and it will end up disrupting the end purpose.
A double- end conversation, is one where there is a reciprocal relation between the audience and the speaker. The reciprocation can be verbal or non-verbal, but in public speaking, having a reciprocal relationship adds value to public speaking. Make sure that the audience is reacting to what you are saying, either verbatim or through their expressions. That enriches the entire public speaking experience.
Curb it down a little:
It is possible that you might be having a lot of energy and enthusiasm, but it is not always necessary that everyone in the audience too will have the same level of energy. So go back, observe and reflect on what is exactly required to motivate the audience and to make the them feel connected.
Focus on the pauses as well:
Make sure you pause in between your speeches. Give some breather time to both yourself and the audience. It helps to gauge the audience’s reaction at that moment. Pauses also gives you some time to think if the direction of your speech is heading the right way or it’s going off- course. This affects the quality of your speech.
Keep a track of your time:
Often with Extroverts, the timings go off limit because of their enthusiasm of connecting with the larger audience. It is again very important to have a time limit to have an enriching public speaking experience. Make sure you are wearing a watch on your hand or you have a wall clock nearby. This will help you keep track of your time.
Since public speaking is something we normally don’t do as part of our daily living (except for some people whose job description demands it), it is natural that we have to pick up certain skills to be able to perfect it. Practice and balanced confidence are the keywords here.
It is evident that you practice before any public speaking session, whether you are an introvert or an extrovert and have the self-confidence to believe that you can give your best performance every time.
Go ahead! Give yourself that push and overcome your fears. Public speaking, I assure you, is not that tough. At least it is not life threatening.