Audiences can be scary. Maybe you haven’t given many presentations. Maybe you’re feeling uncomfortable with the size of the audience. Maybe you’re speaking in a venue you’ve never seen before. Maybe even in another state or country.
So how do you break down that fear? Here’s one simple technique that will give you a boost.
We all feel more comfortable with friends than strangers? Right?
We even feel more comfortable with people we slightly know than complete strangers. That’s why it’s a good idea to make a connection with the audience before you ever begin to speak.
Here’s three ways to do this.
You’ll usually have someone that you liaise with prior to the engagement. This will be your ‘go to’ person when you have questions. You may even have someone assigned to you on the day. They might be there to see to your needs.
If you’re feeling nervous, establish a good connection with this person. We should be friendly to everyone anyway, but when you’re on the stage, you can look out into the audience, smile at this person, and you’ll usually get a smile in return.
Connect at the door
Sometimes it’s appropriate for you to stand at the door and greet people as they enter. I know speakers who do this. They introduce themselves to everyone as they enter. You may even have a handout that needs to be given to the audience. Make a point of helping with this. This will help you to feel more comfortable with the audience prior to your presentation.
Before you speak
If you’re feeling nervous, turn up early to the venue. There’s usually people who are already seated or waiting around outside the venue.
Go up to them, introduce yourself, and establish a rapport. These people will feel a little predisposed to react favorably to you because you’ve already spoken to them. If you’re feeling nervous during your presentation, establish eye contact with them, and it’ll make you feel better. You’ll have a few friendly faces to focus on while you speak.
Remember, the more you speak, the more you’ll overcome any fear you have of public speaking.
Have a look at the other posts on this site for other tips about overcoming any fears you may have.