After earning her bachelor of science in computer science, Amita Vadlamudi worked as a computer analyst for 35 years. Over the course of her career, she took many courses to improve her IT skills and keep up with the evolving technology. To enhance her ability to communicate, Amita Vadlamudi also took local courses in public speaking and presentation skills.
Public speaking has been recognized as one of the average American's greatest fears. When speaking in public, audience attention is completely focused on the speaker, and there is literally nowhere to hide. Following these five tips can help alleviate fears and make your speech more memorable.
Relax. It is natural to be nervous before making a speech, but there are ways to hone nervous energy into a positive force. Pause before beginning the speech to allow the nerves to settle and the audience to simply take you in. This will help convey a message of confidence and propel the speech forward.
Keep it short and sweet. The speech should be no longer than necessary to convey the message. Sentences should also be kept short to have the most impact. Not only does brevity help in formulating and delivering the speech, but it also helps those with short attention spans stay focused and succinctly deliver the point.
Talk to your audience, not at them. The best speakers master the art of simply having a conversation with their audience. Recognize that your aim is to deliver a message, not to just hurriedly make it through a canned speech. Good speakers communicate with the audience, speaking clearly and continuously making eye contact.
Speak what you know. When formulating a speech, it helps to speak about what you can connect with or feel passionate about. The passion for your subject will translate to the audience and help them understand your message. If you are not invested in your speech, your audience won’t be either.
Practice makes perfect. The best way to overcome fear is through preparation. Practicing beforehand, especially in front of an audience (even if only your pet dog), will help you become comfortable with the material and hone your speaking skills before the big event.