Everyone knows the “picture the audience in their underwear” trick for public speaking, and as a theatre major with terrible stage fright, I can tell you that this is probably the worst advice anyone could ever give you. I know; I’m sorry. I just ruined your childhood and tore down the advice of every English teacher you have ever had. Well, here are the best tips I have managed to pick up over the years!
1. Breathe: You know the information better than anyone else in the room, so you don’t have anything to worry about. Just say what you know.
2. Don’t picture anyone in their underwear: The original thought behind this was to make nervous people laugh, but laughing in the middle of any public speech is really a terrible idea.
3. Don’t move your hands too much: It’s simply distracting and makes you look like you are nervous. You may be inclined to use gestures to get your point across, but an audience will understand your point without any excessive hand movements.
4. Every person in the room understands your plight: The fear of public speaking applies to more people than you think, so you are definitely not alone in the room. They are on your side.
5. Wear something that makes you comfortable: Yes you should always look professional, but if you are uncomfortable, you are more likely to appear nervous.
6. Your audience wants you to succeed: It’s that simple. No one wants to watch another person crash and burn, so an audience is more likely to support you than to not. They want you to succeed.
Remember these six simple steps, and you will rock any pitch or speech you ever have to give!