Every speech or presentation is an opportunity to make an impression. You can use a speech to build credibility, create the right engagement or on the negative; blow the chance to share your story to your audience. At some point in your life, you will have to make a speech. There are different kinds of speech whose intentions vary between informing, persuading, instructing, motivating and entertaining. All these share the same goal; to communicate clearly and in an effective manner to an audience.
But how do you start a speech? What is the best way to go about it to ensure that your audience is wowed and want to listen to the rest of your speech? Let’s find out;
Ways to start a speech
Opening your speech with a relevant quote can help in setting the right tone for the rest of your speech. It usually takes about three weeks to prepare for a good speech. Another way to go about it is using
‘What if’ scenario. It is a method that is highly applicable to sensational examples. When you ask a what if question, you invite the audience to follow your thought process.
A third way of starting your speech is through using the ‘imagine’ scenario. It is a method that is very relevant for sensational examples. Inputs your audience directly into the presentation by allowing them to visualize and extraordinary setup. Another way of starting your speech is by using the ‘question’ approach. With this approach, you focus on asking a rhetorical or even literal question. When you pose a question to the audience, they will want to follow along to get the answer during your presentation.
Another way of starting a speech is through applying silence. A simple pause, be it two or ten seconds gives your audience the chance to sit and be quiet, ready to listen to you. Most audience normally expects a speaker to begin a speech immediately. An extra pause can do all the wonders in bringing the right attention where it is wanted most.
You can also start a speech by telling a personal story. First, the story should indeed be peculiar. Tell your story and give your observations. It’s always a good idea to make others heroes in your story. Remember your goal is to invigorate people to volunteer their time to listen to you. Try to make your story to be highly emotional and sensory. Make it rich in dialogue. The story should be very specific to the audience and captivating enough to make them want to listen to you.
The words ‘public speaking‘ causes anxiety and fear in the minds of otherwise confident and competent people. To some, the thought of speaking in public evokes fear making many people sweat and get their hearts pounding. When you step up to the podium, you most likely position yourself as an expert in a certain area of business. The fear of speaking in public is known as glossophobia. In most cases, this anxiety happens long even before you step to the public and stand on stage.
As a normal response, your body’s defense mechanism acts by causing a part of your brain to discharge adrenaline rush into your bloodstream. This is the same chemical that gets released in a life-threatening situation such as being chased by a lion. There is step by step tips you can do to reduce and overcome the fear of public speaking.
Prepare mentally and physically
You need to prepare yourself mentally and physically. According to psychologists, we are building to display anxiety as well as recognizing it in others. If you experience anxiety in your body and mind, your audience will definitely notice it. It is very important to prepare yourself both mentally and physically and be confident on stage. If you hit the stage and you lack the vital points to support your speech, you will most likely be anxious.
If you are nervous, there is a very high probability that you shall feel the same way while on the state. You need to exercise lightly before a presentation as this helps to get your blood circulating and also sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises are very important as they help in calming your mind and nerves. Try practicing neck and shoulder roll. This is an exercise that helps in relieving your upper body muscle tension and pressure. It loosens the muscles and makes you more relaxed. You can also try arm stretching and waist twists. It is also very important for you to stay hydrated.
Mediation is well known for its power to calm the mind. Meditation can help humans to stay significantly calmer. It acts like a mental workout giving you the strength and focus to deal with a challenging situation. It filters out negativity and distractions from your body and instills a sense of confidence and encouragement. Mindful meditation is particularly powerful in calming yourself before you hit upon a big stage. All you need is to sit calmly and focus on breathing and bringing the attention of your mind to the present.
Focus on your goals
One thing that affects people while on stage is focusing too much on themselves and thinking about the possibilities of failure. What you need to focus on instead is the subject and topic you will be discussing with the audience. You need to convert all the negative energies into positives. Understand your content and understand your audience as well. Do not try to memorize what to talk to the audience, but rather understand the foundational blocks that form the skeleton of your topic.
According to experts, public speaking is one of the most important skills you can have in your life and career. Speaking in public can help in increasing your confidence and shapes the perceptions of others on you when you deliver a good presentation. Despite all the benefits associated with public speaking, many seem to fear it. Data from communication research shows that 80 percent of people get increasingly nervous when it comes to speaking in public. The fact is that most people will be in a situation where they are expected to speak to a crowd and these moments can be very tough for them.
If you are tirelessly trying to kill all the butterflies in your stomach to get a breakthrough in speaking so that people listen to you, we have useful tips you can follow.
Prepare your presentation
The first thing you need is to prepare your presentation. This involves identifying the context of the event, knowing the demographics of the audience and organizing your content. Know the audience you are speaking to and the level of expertise and technicality they possess. You might need to introduce new ideas that challenge what they know, and this means you have to be well equipped with vital data.
Develop a captivating presentation
You need to develop a presentation that will cultivate your audience. Pick a good topic that and deal with stage fright. Put together the presentation to ensure that it flows well and engages your audience. You need to start strong because the first 30 seconds of your presentation determines if your audience will listen to you or not. You can start your speech with an anecdote, use an analogy or use a memorable quote. Use storytelling techniques and visual aids effectively.
Overcome stage fright
Your heart may be pounding profusely moments before your speech, in anticipation for what is about to happen. You step on the podium and all eyes are on you. The pressure may become overwhelming to make you freeze. You need to embrace anxiety and consequently control it. There will always be those butterflies inside your stomach leading up to your presentation. The key to delivering is first knowing how to control your breathing and deal with stage fright.
Additionally, you need to conversational and authentic. Speak directly to the audience in a manner they can understand. Keep content at your fingerprints as this helps in reducing anxiety. Mouth your words when rehearsing and deliver an excellent speech.