“What are people’s greatest fears? What are people most afraid of? The number one fear of people around the world, by a very far margin, was public speaking – number two was dead.” – Neal Hartman.
How to overcome the fear of public speaking? How to give your message in the most efficient way? What do you need to focus on during your presentation?
”Always remember that you’re in charge when you’re presenting”.
When you talk, you need to focus on two things: what you say with your voice – and what you say without your voices (body language etc).
Think about where in your presentation the most important parts or the parts that matter the most to you and use inflections to emphasize these. Simple pause can already increase the level of public involvement into your speech!
“If we all looked and sounded the same, life would be very dull”.
Filler words – avoid overdoing them in presenting to an audience. Have someone to film you and sit down and watch yourself. Watch it several times – root out filler words, examine non-verbal cues etc. Improve the speech pattern if you are really into the progression!
Pace – if you’re nervous, you’re also going to speak faster, which might throw off your timing of the presentation. Confidence in the knowledge of the material and practice can help to overcome this.
“It is good to prepare, and it is good to practice, and the more you do that, the more comfortable you become”.
Think about the idea of movement. If you stand behind the table or stand it lends formality to the presentation, whereas moving out from it, maybe out among the audience, makes it informal. Find the balance between keeping your position for couple of minutes and moving across the classroom.
“If you’re not energetic and enthusiastic about your idea, no-one else will be. I would show my enthusiasm in every way that I could”.
Eye movement – eye contact. ”Scanning”: look across the audience – don’t look at one person for too long, but look over the entire audience. Another form of eye contact is “direct focusing”. Find individuals in the audience who are interested/supportive. If you get a little nervous, look at them to get a nod or smile.
“It’s helpful to have a plan B when you’re presenting”.
Gesturing – some cultures gesture very expressively – other not so much. Think who is your auditory and behave accordingly.
The mirror effect – “You, as a presenter, can actually have an immense effect on the tone of the presentation”. “If you smile at the audience, they’re going to smile back at you”.
The information is based on the lecture of Neal Hartman, professor of MIT Sloan School of Management for 21 years in the area of cross-cultural communication.
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