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How to Be More Confident When Giving Speeches

We get it: when giving a speech, it’s easy to feel the nerves. It’s only natural, and it happens to all of us.

There are ways to overcome the nerves, though, and tweak your speeches to become even more engaging. Although you’ll learn most lessons from experience, there are some helpful pointers you can take on board to make your speech that much more interesting. After all, the last thing you want is a sleepy audience!

  1. Be clear on your message

The best speechmakers are invested in their subject matter and know their speech inside and out. Have you ever watched Barack Obama deliver a speech? Often speaking in front of crowds thousands-strong, he’s great at delivering his message. How does he do it? He captures the attention of his audience by learning his speech and delivering it with gravitas. Don’t rely on a script – know your speech so well that if you lose your place, you can keep going.

  1. Speak slower

When nervous, speakers tend to go a lot faster, which can be detrimental to their message. As well as this, speaking quickly makes you seem even more nervous, which can’t be a good thing.

The Post Office Telecoms found that an ideal speech contained 164 words per minute. Try incorporating that tip when you write your next speech and, when you’re in front of the audience, take a deep breath before speaking.

  1. Stay still

The best, most practiced, speech givers use the whole stage to tell a story. If you’re just starting out, you are not one of them. Plant your feet shoulder-width apart and stand in the centre of the stage. It will stop you from fidgeting (and distracting your audience), which will make you appear less than confident. Instead of distracting your audience, help them concentrate on your words by standing in place.

  1. Use gestures to your advantage

Besides your voice, your hands are your greatest weapon when it comes to making a point. A sharp gesture or flowing hands set the pace of your story, and can even help your audience see when you are changing tack.

  1. Use inflection in your voice

No one likes listening to a flat, monotonous voice. Give them something interesting to focus on and vary the tone of your voice. Depending on what you’re saying, vary the highs and lows of your voice – what’s more, the changes will draw the audience’s attention.

  1. Make eye contact with the audience

It’s a scary thought, sure, but making eye contact with your audience helps you appear trustworthy and certain of what you’re saying. Seek out some friendly faces in the crowd and direct your attention to them before moving on.

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