Wednesday, 22 August 2012

How to Speak with Confidence - Part 3

The time to relax
is when you don't have time for it.

(Sydney J. Harris)

Speaking in public is often cited as the number one fear of adults, and certainly a number of my clients have felt that way.  They come to me because they want to be sure they present themselves well and that their message is received effectively.

I recently read an article by Richard M. Highsmith who was a senior instructor for The Leader's Institute, where he looks at some techniques to deal with the anxiety of public speaking and some tips on how to give an excellent presentation.  His methods are divided into the acronym P.R.E.P.A.R.E.

In Part 1 we looked at Preparation, Rehearse and Entry.  In Part 2 we examined Posturing and Audience and in this Part we shall explore Relax and Ending.


Remember the physical reaction you experience in front of a group are normal.  When confronted with a stimulating situation the body resorts to the 'fight or flight' response.  Your pulse increases.  Adrenaline releases into your bloodstream.  Your body prepares for a physical response but you have to stay put!

Sometimes your mind generates negative thoughts.  Michael Pritchard said, "Fear is that little darkroom where negatives are developed.'  Deal with fear by building a solid foundation (know your topic!) and feel confident in your message.  Take a few deep breaths.  Mild exercise or stretching can disperse some of the anxious energy. Smile.


Like the touchdown of an airplane, your presentation must be landed correctly.  Begin the end by summarising your key points.  Next, ask for audience questions and clarify any remaining issues.  Then make your closing statement, which should encourage some action.  What do you want the audience to do?  Memorising the last few lines ensures a strong close.  Finally, smile and nod your head.

If the thought of speaking in public makes you anxious, you probably will be.  If you P.R.E.P.A.R.E however, the level of your anxiety will be lower and you will deliver a better, more effective speech.

Contact me at Nicholl Consultancy, if you would like to improve your public speaking techniques.

Until next time - be successful!