Have you ever parachuted out of a plane?
This would be a terrifying experience for most of us. Our hearts would be racing, our stomachs would be turning over, and our voice would constrict.
But that’s the first time. What about the second time? And the third time? Probably not quite so nervous. And the tenth time? The fiftieth time? The hundredth?
Fear can be overcome with practice.
Where can you practice?
Local service clubs (www.rotary.org), business networking clubs, Meetup clubs (www.meetup.com). There’s also places like aged care facilities or schools where you can speak. You just need a subject that your audience will find interesting.
The other advantage
The other obvious advantage is that you feel more confident when you practice your material. Even the most experienced speakers, when asked impromptu questions, will um and ah. It’s because thinking on the spot is more difficult. It’s not easy for anyone to gather their thoughts in front of an audience.
Learning your speech
I’d advise someone trying to learn their speech to do these things:
Get plenty of sleep
Practice the speech every day until you’re familiar with your material. Then leave it for a few days and try to deliver the speech. If you find you’re stumbling over any places, take note of these and put extra effort into learning these sections.
Leading up to the day of giving your presentation, continue to practice, but try to focus on taking the ‘polish‘ off your presentation. It’s all too easy to know the speech verbatim, and deliver it like a robot. Don’t make this mistake. You want your speech to sound natural and sincere.
Sleep is a powerful tool at our disposal. Studies have shown that 1 in 3 people don’t get enough sleep. It’s even been shown that napping can aid our ability to learn new information.
Once again, studies have shown that regular exercise can help memory recall. If you don’t already exercise, try to incorporate exercise into your lifestyle.
Meditation has been shown to have all sorts of health benefits. One of them is aiding memory. A study showed that a 2-week mindfulness-training course was able to decrease mind wandering and improve cognitive performance.
Fear is a common issue for people new to public speaking. Having techniques that help us to learn our material, as well as regular practicing, can help build our confidence.
Practice is one of the keys that unlocks the door of fear. Open that door and move out into the world.