According to most studies, people’s number-one fear is public speaking. Number two is death. Death is number two. Does that seem right? That means to the average person, if you have to go to a funeral, you’re better off in the casket than doing the eulogy…Jerry Seinfeld
I don’t know how accurate Jerry’s statement is but I do know that for many people, having to make a speech in front of a group of people, no matter how big or small, is an anxiety-filled experience. There are countless reasons people give about why they hate speaking in public – I don’t want to look stupid, what am I going to say, who cares what I have to say, I’m shy and the list goes on.
But at some point in all our lives, we’re going to have to speak in public.
For those of you with little experience in public speaking, I suggest you give yourself ample time to practice. The more you rehearse your talk, the more confident you will be and the more likely it is that you will give a good presentation. The HMA team always does a run-through of any new business presentation before meeting with the prospect. We do this not only to ensure we each know our role in the presentation, but also to anticipate any questions that might arise from our presentation.
Depending on the type of presentation you are making, you may choose to write the full script for your presentation or just jot down an outline with a few notes and key messages to keep you on track. Whatever method you choose, you increase the likelihood of remembering much more of what you wrote simply because you wrote it down in the first place.
Before you begin to script your presentation, learn as much as you can about your audience. A few facts about your audience sprinkled into presentation will make it more personal for your listeners and a more engaged audience is much easier to present to.
Don’t be afraid to let your personality shine through in your presentation. Smile, look around the audience, acknowledge the people in the room that you are acquainted with. It is quite possible that many in the audience have similar fears as you do about public speaking – they’ll be rooting for you to be successful.