You need to make mistakes in rehearsal because that’s how you find out what works and what doesn’t – Clarke Peters
Great speakers rehearse their presentations again and again until they can practically give their speeches in their sleep! Many practice it so many times they have it memorized, yet that was not their original goal, but due to this they know the content so well that the audience is unaware that every word is committed to memory.
Memorization is unnecessary but practice is essential. The more familiar you become with your material, the easier the words flow. The more comfortable you feel with your words, the more naturally you present your speech. That’s why good speakers practice and practice again.
The best way to improve your speaking skill is to watch you speak. Technology can come in handy, now recording a video is extremely easy, you will be surprised to see who quickly you improve by watching yourself speak, have one of your friends record it for you. When you watch you speak on camera, you will discover many nervousness habits like fidgeting, grabbing on to the microphone, rubbing your hands, being aware about your mistakes is the first step towards improvement.
If not video, you should record an audio, and listen to it, you’ll know if you are speaking too quickly or too slowly, or if some words are difficult to understand. You will hear mistakes in grammar and inappropriate “um’s” and “ah’s” and many other crutch words that you might be using. This identification would help you remove these deficiencies from your speech.
Rehearse in front of a mirror; try to see how much eye contact you can maintain. Look at your gestures. Are you smiling when you should – and looking intense and serious when it is required? Practice in front of a friend or classmate and ask for an honest appraisal.
Make yourself familiar with the tools, technologies, and equipment that you would be using during your speech or presentation.
Over rehearsal is also bad, Terence Fisher says – “There is the danger of over preparation, of loss of spontaneity; over rehearsal is the most terrible thing you can imagine….”
It is normal and natural to be nervous before your speech or your presentation. You are not participating in rapid fire quiz, there is no hurry and there is no need to start shooting from your mouth the moment you reach the stage.
Try relaxing just before your speech, close your eyes and breathe slowly, you may also try some stress reducing exercises –
Shrug your shoulders upward and hold them for a count of five. Then roll them backward and forward
Try a few head rolls, slowly moving your head clockwise in a circle. Now reverse the procedure.
Do some isometric exercises, press your hands together or push against a wall?
Stretch your arms and legs – just a few seconds will work wonders.
Exercise your jaws. Open your mouth as wide as possible to relieve tension.
Have Mr. Triumph working for you all the time, visualize yourself delivering a great speech. Law of attraction does work.
But in any case, it’s never life and death situation for a speaker, though he may feel like it is. Ghosts exist only in my mind. In every case, a person’s fear of public speaking is unjustified. What’s the worst that could happen? You could trip as you approach the stage, freeze, forget a sentence, drop your notes, stammer, or shake. None of these things are fatal. The worst that could happen probably won’t. Yet if it does, you can live through it.
Your speech is not about you, it’s about your audience. If you focus on your audience and remember you are there to inform, educate, enlighten, communicate and they all are here to listen to your speech. You will feel better.