Public speaking is not a skill that comes naturally to most people. For many, just thinking about the act is a source of great stress. But whether you're giving a presentation, speech or lecture, public speaking skills are essential.
Though most people are terrified of public speaking, it doesn't need to be stressful. People throughout time have spoken in front of large groups, many of them initially horrified at the idea. If they overcame their fear of public speaking, so can we!
Also, people tend to believe that they need to be perfect to speak well, which is of course a daunting concept. But the truth is that you can get tongue-tied, make mistakes, and be average, or even below average. As long as the audience receives something of value, they will appreciate you.
Another tip for people who fear public speaking is that a little humility and humor go a long way. Though everyone develops his or her own public speaking style, these two tactics can be used by almost everyone. They can be used together as you present your material. Humility means simply to be yourself and share some of your human weaknesses. We all have them, and when you stand up in front of other people and show them you're not afraid to show yours, you create a safe, intimate climate.
Also, someone who is humble before others resonates as more credible and real. People will put greater stock in the information you're delivering. If during your speech you suddenly become nervous, don't try to hide it from your audience.
Public speaking skills are another one of those vital areas that teachers often forget about encouraging in students. But if we don't start young, fears of public speaking often stay with us into adulthood.