For even the most self-assured person, public speaking can seem like a daunting task. Research has found that this fear is more pervasive than any other—even surpassing our dread of death!

Addressing a room of one hundred interns and young professionals about my career trajectory and the power of networking was an intimidating prospect for me. I hadn’t spoken in front of such a large audience since college, so anxiety set in as I prepared for the event. However, through extensive preparation, I was able to deliver an exciting yet concise talk that resonated with those present.

Five Steps to the Public Speaking:

1. Understand and research the topic

If you can speak on a topic that is familiar to you, your words will sound more authoritative and confident. I was asked to talk about my career journey and networking strategies so I didn’t need to do extensive research – though I did look into some extra network tips for fresh ideas. If, however, the presentation requires researching due to an academic purpose then make sure you’re well-versed in these things. Finally, consider any conditions of the speech; like if there are time limits or PowerPoint slides coming into play. Familiarise yourself with those details as well!

2. Outline

Forget about writing down your entire speech line-by-line. There are a couple of reasons for this: If you don’t have the time to commit it to memory, then all you’ll be doing is reading from paper; which does not make for a very captivating performance. On the other hand, if memorizing every word was an option, people would notice that it was too rehearsed and consequently lose interest in what you’re saying due to its insincerity and lack of emotion. You want to be able to tailor your delivery according to how your audience responds with respect toward both tone and subject matter! For my speech, I jotted down a bulleted page to keep myself on track without having to stick too close to the script. This not only allowed me some creative freedom but also meant that each time was new and unique! By doing so, I could make sure that every important point got covered.

3. Seek input and edit

Writing your speech doesn’t have to be a solitary endeavor. To make sure my presentation was perfect, I asked for input from those close to me – like my mom, boyfriend and friends. Everyone contributed something incredibly useful; for instance that there was too much information on myself and not enough on how to network effectively. This feedback enabled me to tighten up the content of my speech by eliminating some unnecessary parts. In other words, it’s okay (and actually beneficial)to take constructive criticism onboard! Thanks to their help, I had a fantastic final product!

4. Practice, practice, practice

Apart from having a strong knowledge about your topic, practice is paramount! To ensure I was ready for my presentation, I rehearsed in several ways. After reading through my outline on the computer multiple times, I tried out different techniques by speaking with my mom and practicing in front of the mirror. This approach allowed me to identify any strange physical habits like constantly playing with my hair or excessive hand movements that could potentially distract listeners during delivery. To make sure I wasn’t talking too quickly, I recorded myself on my iPhone. To avoid this problem, I kept a glass of water handy and made it a point to take regular sips during practice sessions. Additionally, timing was key: making sure not to exceed the allocated speaking time for my speech is absolutely critical!

5. Treat yo’ self

Before my big speech, I treated myself to some frozen yogurt – it’s something that always helps me relax. But don’t worry if sweet treats aren’t your thing – there are plenty of other ways to make yourself feel more confident and prepared! Why not buy a new outfit or get your hair done? Anything that boosts your sense of self-assurance will do the trick and help reduce any anxieties you may have.

Have you ever had the chance to address a crowd? How did you get ready for it? Give us your best tips in the comments below!

If you want to know how to stay composed and be ready for public speaking, inquire of Levo Mentor Jehmu Greene who is a renowned political commentator on Fox News. She will definitely provide invaluable tips!

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