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Written by: Carolina Marquez

December 18, 2014

Seven tips for not panicking and engaging your audience when giving a speech

Do you need to deliver a speech and connect with the audience? Are you wondering what methods and techniques can help you improve your speech?

Everybody talks about great speeches of presidents, actors and activists all around the world, but what are the real tools that can help you connect with your audience and deliver a clear and effective message?

How can you deliver a clean and great speech and not be afraid or nervous?

Here are seven simple tips that will help you:


1

1. Think.


What are you afraid of? Making a fool out of yourself, losing professional prestige? These are things that almost never happen.

How many people do you personally know who lost their company because of a bad speech? If you are afraid of going completely blank, bring notes, if there is something regarding visual effects, have a backup plan… Bottom line, if it’s about something that could happen, prepare for it.


2

2. A nice introduction.


The first few seconds are important for making a  great impression. Present yourself to your audience, if someone hasn’t done it already, do so with a couple of quotes you remember by memory.

Find a nice and memorable quote, something about the topic at hand.  This way you can break the ice and get everybody’s attention. If you don’t feel like it or you want another plan, present a video, that way you can calm down and adapt yourself for a couple of minutes. A nice introduction can even be something comical or a joke, a personal story or a question, do whatever feels natural to you.


3

3. The more you know, the better it will go.


Be prepared to talk about the topic so it can feel and sound natural. Also, rehearse, and visualize yourself when giving a speech.  According to studies with athletes, it works.

The key is to prepare; you need to investigate, you need to read, you need to be clear out of any doubt before you present.


4

4. Alright, but what if I do panic? 


Take a nice, deep breath, look at your notes, take a sip of water if near you and smile. Then continue at a slow rhythm, and you’ll see how things go back to the flow. It’s not the end of the world, everybody panics, know that and you will remain calm.


5

5. Sometimes honesty is not the best quality.


Don’t go with something like: “Oh my gosh I’m lost” or something like that.  If you get lost, it’s very likely that your audience will not even notice.  Take a moment in the background, take a breath, remain relaxed and continue forward.  If you forgot the current topic your covering, switch to another topic;  you can always come back to it if you remember.   Overall you want to remain fluid and flexible.


6

6. Your audience is not there to judge you!


Often, the audience doesn’t even know about the presenter being nervous,  so you want to imagine as if they are not there. It seems like pure nonsense, but it’s one of the best remedies to not panic. Are you shaking? Put your hands in your back for a moment, it will pass. Think and believe you are not afraid, you are excited, you are prepared, with a lot of adrenaline so everything can and will go well.


7

7. And whatever happens, smile!


Think that people are there because they like the subject, so even though you are a little nervous, they are not going to care as long as what you are saying is interesting! Remember to smile.

We tend to be more patience with a person that it’s happy and don’t be afraid to throw in a joke here and there to put a smile on their face; it can catch their attention.


Remember: No man knows it all! Public speaking and speeches are like everything in life: a journey. Start slow, prepare yourself and mostly: enjoy the ride!  with each speech you will become better and more comfortable.

Do you have any good stories from the last time you panicked and gave a presentation?  Feel free to share below.

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About the Author

Caro is a internet marketer, blogger and a design enthusiast. She joined the Visme.co team on 2014, and she's been working with the tool ever since! She likes to share tips and tricks to make design and marketing easy and reachable for anyone!

7 responses to “Seven tips for not panicking and engaging your audience when giving a speech”

  1. […] Do you need to deliver a speech, and you need to connect with the public attending? Are you wondering what methods and techniques can help you in this  […]

  2. […] Do you need to deliver a speech and connect with the audience? Are you wondering what methods and techniques can help you improve your speech? Everybody  […]

  3. David says:

    Dear Madam,

    I want to ask how about to do the presentation about material products infront of my sales people?
    Is it necessary to do the 7 steps above? because my sales are internal employee, not public.
    Thank you.

    Best Regards,
    David

    • Payman Taei Payman Taei says:

      Hi David
      Great question. The 7 steps are guidelines and often used in public presentations; but that does not mean you can’t pick and choose what you feel works best to present to a private audience such as your sales staff. The presenter is always the best person to gauge their audience and the environment and decide what works best to their advantage.

  4. Hello Payman and Caro!

    Fantastic tips! Anxiety during live presentations is a natural response. I was terrified when I began teaching college courses and hosting grad ceremonies.

    Here are some helpful personal tips I can reiterate:

    1) Be Alive: Speak as if you’re telling a cool/funny story to a friend. If you’re an animated talker, then animate. Create funny impressions. Make faces. Roll your eyes, smirk, talk with your hands and so on.

    Just don’t overdo it. Folks can smell bad cheese from a mile away.

    2) React and Interact with Your Audience: People remember information better when it’s tied to an emotion. Get smiles or giggles? Heads nodding in agreement? Take note and repeat whatever sparked the reaction at the next appropriate opportunity (don’t overdo it).

    Negative reactions? Apply the opposite. Tone it down.

    Option: Be brave and ask why! Turn negatives into opportunities to interact, discuss, learn.

    2) Be Prepared – Know Your Topic Well: Teaching is one of the strongest methods of learning. The less you speak from notes, the more authority you gain. Also, take the time to research technical aspects outside the scope of your presentation (this helps you cover all bases and define your focus).

    Live speaking gets easier over time. The anxiety may lessen, yet rarely goes away. But you will gain more confidence and comfort as you develop your groove. Practice makes Performance!

    Thanks for all the great articles! Hope this helps!

    • Payman Taei Payman Taei says:

      Blaine, thanks for the great tips. I like the “Folks can smell bad cheese from a mile away!”. I think being genuine and flexible during a presentation help to better connect with your audience.

  5. Lanora says:

    Hi! I’ve been following your weblog for a while now and
    finally got the courage to go ahead and give you a shout out from Huffman Tx!

    Just wanted to say keep up the good work!

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