If ever there were two words in any language that could turn young students into pale white, speechless victims who appear to have seen a ghost, it’s this: Public Speaking.
Whether it is the thought of placing oneself in front of what could be a vast auditorium filled to the brim with unknown faces or a small classroom with twenty-five close peers, most students feel the need to turn and run away. However, these feelings of anxiety and apprehension can be controlled and possibly even forgotten. With a few simple strategies, students have the ability to overcome fear and be proud of what they have to say, no matter what kind of crowd they are up against.
One essential guideline students should utilize is an understanding of what they are about to present. In other words, they need to be aware of the issues surrounding their presentation. For example, a student is told that he or she must give a report on global warming. Rather than just defining the problem, a well put presentation could include but is not limited to the issue at hand, how it has become a problem, the effects it has caused as well as future problems it may produce, and a few suggestions on creating a solution.
Students should also keep the message very clear. Drifting off topic is often one of the worst mistakes a presenter can make. Communicating a concise message to the audience is the key to a successful presentation. Answering the questions who, what, where, why and when will keep a speech on the subject and allow the audience to follow it without losing interest.
Possibly the most important tool one can use when speaking in public starts before they even step on stage. Be prepared! Knowing what to say before having to say it is a major plus. Practicing often in front of people or a mirror will help conquer stage fright as well as aid in the memorization of exactly how the presentation should play out.
Students who open their minds, use their imagination and creativity and remember these tips have the ability speak to anybody, whatever the size of the audience.