Imagine standing at the lectern. You see the many smiling faces of those in your audience. Your countenance, however, says anything but that you are glad to be there. While you may not be thrilled at the prospect of giving that speech or presentation, if your face displays your displeasure, how enjoyable will your delivery be for those who are in attendance?
If you read most articles and books on the subject of public speaking, they will tell you that there are only 3 reasons for public speaking: to entertain, to inform, or to persuade. In truth, however, all 3 of the above should be entertaining. And, while the sole purpose the entertainment speech is obviously to amuse your listeners, why would you not want your informative or persuasive speech or presentation to be entertaining as well?
If your visage expresses your nervousness, your fear, your discomfort, or your anxiety, do you honestly think your delivery will be one that is enjoyable, engaging or gratifying? Your tone of voice, your facial expression and your body language convey your emotions. If all these factors are instead conveying your angst, then it is a guarantee that your audience will feel your anxiety as well.
A smile takes much less work than a frown and it certainly is more pleasant to view than an immobile face exuding pain. In addition, inducing laughter for both you and your audience releases endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers. Thus, if you laugh during your presentation or speech, your will find your body relaxing which will make your delivery that much easier. Not that I am advising you to deliver your material with a perpetual grin on your face; but, if you are able to add humor at various times throughout your presentation, you will discover one of the best means of controlling your nervousness. An added bonus is that your audience’s response to your humor will bolster your confidence.
When you first enter the stage or walk to the front of the room or to the head of the boardroom table, do not concentrate on your nervousness or your fear. Instead, concentrate on those in attendance and smile at them. The secret is to place more of your focus on them and less on yourself. As you begin your delivery, remember this advice and let it carry you throughout your presentation or speech. You will feel more confident, you will look more confident and you will sound more confident to boot!
The Voice Lady Nancy Daniels is President of Voice Dynamic as well as Selfgrowth's Official Guide to Public Speaking. Holding private, corporate and group workshops in voice and presentation skills, she also offers Voicing It!, the only video training program on voice improvement.
For more information on voice and presentation skills, click here for her 4-minute presentation, The 5 Characteristics of Dynamic Public Speakers