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Articles for Teachers

Top 4 Public Speaking Tips from a Psychotherapist
By:Peter James Field

The fear of public speaking is considered to be the most common fear in both the USA and the UK today. Here are my top tips for successfully speaking in front of others:

1. Do not look at yourself as 'a public speaker'. See yourself as yourself. And you are plenty good enough.

There is no better way to approach any audience than to imagine that you are talking to a good friend, someone who is on your side. After all, don't we do that all of the time -- without feeling nervous about it.

Seeing your audience as a mass of opponents or as a panel of judges is not only unfair to everyone in your audience, it's plainly incorrect.

You audience is there because they want to hear what you have to say. They really want you to do well and the vast majority are already on your side even before you speak.

2. You do NOT need to be a born speaker, a natural orator or a brilliant wit in order to do well.

Your audience is not expecting absolute perfection. In fact, it's perfectly all right to make mistakes, slip up, or to not cover all of the points you had planned.

The fact is that if you don't have enough time to cover all your planned points, then you very probably had too many points planned. (See item number 3, below.)

The most essential and important thing in becoming a good public speaker and in delivering a good talk is to give your audience something to take away with them.

This could be a piece of information, a thought or two, an idea for them mull over or a different perspective to ponder.

3. You do NOT need a whole list of points to cover.

A common, but easily made mistake of the inexperienced public speaker is trying to cram in too many different points. Despite what you may start off believing, less really is more when it comes to speaking in front of and holding an audience.

In fact, the very best public speakers that I have heard have usually restricted themselves to just a couple of main points. That's really all it takes.

Choose two or three points and talk passionately about these.

By all means include facts, and essential statistics, but go easy on these. Nothing is guaranteed to bore an audience more than have a string of facts and statistics quoted at them.

Few people will actually remember these things, anyway. But if you include too many, what they just might remember is that they were bored.

Your audience has a need. They need to leave feeling that they have something to take away with them that they didn't have before they heard you talk. That could be an interesting perspective, or just a feeling.

4. Expect to give NOT to get.

When you are asked to talk to an audience it's because someone believes you have something to say and wants you to share that something with others.

You haven't been invited to talk so that your ego can be stroked, or to become rich and famous, or to have your insecurities placated.

Yes, these things might just come, in some degree, as a by-product of your talk, but they are not the reason why an audience is there.

They are there to listen to what you have to say. That's it.

Make certain that you yourself are interested in your topic, in what you are saying. This will give you the energy and the passion which can so easily be transmitted to others.

Your audience will love you if you simply and passionately share your interest with it.

If, despite following these tips you are still left struggling with your fear, then it may be because of a past experience or experiences that have 'programmed' you to feel anxious when talking in front of others.

If this is the case and you really are determined to let go of this fear, then find an experienced transformational hypnotherapist to work with you and in a brief period of time, he or she will help you to move on and become that really confident speaker that you were born to be.

One of the foremost British hypno-psychotherapists, with clinics in both Birmingham and London, Peter Field is author of numerous articles on psychotherapy, hypnosis and health. He is a Member of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy and Fellow of the Royal Society of Health. For more interesting articles and helpful information, visit his website: Peter Field Hypnotherapy http://www.peterfieldhypnotherapy.co.uk/.

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