Musicians, actors, and comedians will invariably suffer from nerves before a show, so, if you are feeling in a panic before a big talk, you are in good company! The best approach is to embrace the nervous energy, and let the adrenaline drive you on to a better performance.
You can only do that, though, if your speech is up to scratch.
Below are five tips that will help you make sure your material is top notch, and give you the best chance of success.
Write for Your Audience
For any talk, it is essential to consider your target audience. Are you speaking to people knowledgeable in the field or are you trying to educate them on the basics? Always aim to use language that is suitable for the expected proficiency of your audience. If the words you use are too complicated, with too much jargon, you run the risk of losing their attention. Too simple, and they will easily bore.
Start and End With a Bang
Much of the time your audience will be listening to various talks throughout the day. You want to make yours stand out from the crowd, so grab their attention straight away with a fun fact, startling statistic, or thought-provoking question -- the best ones do it with a story that gets the reflection going straight away.
Likewise, you want people to remember the content of your talk, so try to finish with a few hard-hitting points that will stay in the memory.
Make Your Talk Flow
If you have successfully grabbed your audiences attention, you don't want to lose them by jumping back and forth between subjects. Make sure that everything flows between different topics, and only at the end bring it all together to make a final point.Depending on your situation, people may be fatigued, or may not even want to be there.
Keeping things ordered is the best way to stop your audience drifting off.
Practice, Practice, Practice
It is obvious really, but the more you practice, the better you will be. One of the best ways to rehearse is in front of a mirror, so you not only practice what you are saying, but also improve your body language, and increase your confidence to deliver a great talk.
Finally, no matter what your subject, or what your situation, you will always benefit by being yourself.
If you are not the type to be bouncing around full of energy, then don't try and become that person in front of an audience.
You are much more likely to fall flat on your face this way! Instead, focus on your positive traits, and make the most of those. If you like making jokes in everyday life, try adding a bit of humor to your talk. Alternatively, if you are a more direct person, take that approach to your delivery, and emphasize the key points.
Whatever suits you is best, and bear in mind there is no right or wrong way to present your message.
Remember, nerves are normal when speaking in public. In fact, they can help by making you more focussed and ready to deliver. The trick to public speaking is not to alleviate the nervous energy, but to embrace it, and use it to make your presentation better. By following the five tips above, you are well on your way to creating a memorable speech that will live long in the memories of your audience.