If you admit to the audience that you’re feeling a little nervous, they’ll forgive you everything.
Your audience really wants you to succeed and they’ll support you all the way to the end of your speech. By sharing your inner feelings with them, and by confiding in them as you would a close friend, they’ll be your strongest support.
2. Redefine your audience
Alter how you view your audience. Instead of seeing them as a group of people who are judging you, try to convince yourself that they are all fellow speakers awaiting their turn to present. If you imagine them to be as nervous as you are, you will automatically relax.
Perhaps you could perceive them as long lost friends that you haven’t seen for years. In doing so, you’ll be able to maintain eye contact with individuals as you imagine their names or where you last met. The audience will view your steady gaze as indicative of a very warm ,friendly and personal presentation.
3. Lighten up, smile and be funny
What you want to do is to gain control of your audience. If you can make them laugh and interact more with you, your presentation will have a casual, warm feel which will make it very memorable. If you can appeal to your audience’s emotions, the feelings they experience during your talk will stay with them long after you have left the stage.
4. Speak to one person at a time
One of the most terrifying things about public speaking is the crowd. Just the look of the crowd, all in silence waiting to hear you speak, can make you want to run. To overcome this, just try to speak to one person at a time. Concentrate on one person and visualise them as someone near, dear and familiar to you. Maybe it’s your wife, husband, girlfriend, child or cousin … just picture that face and talk to that person. When you change your gaze do the same thing again. Remember, when speaking, it’s always a one-on-one conversation. Nothing more than that.
5. Tell stories
When you speak or give a presentation, try to work in a few of your own personal thoughts and anecdotes on the subject.
Of course these should be prepared and practiced beforehand. When delivering, try to drop these into your speech as if you’d just thought of them – slowly, deliberately – in an ‘off the cuff’ type of way. This will really differentiate your presentation from others, and when you see the interested look on the faces of your audience, it will lift your presentation to a whole new level, a level where you start having fun and really enjoying yourself.