The first thing that you have to keep in mind to emerge as a successful speaker is to be your natural self.
You have to train yourself gradually into believing this. After a few lectures, you shall realize that you don’t have to make yourself believe this: you are your natural self.
Being your natural self helps you to overcome your fears and anxieties. This is important because fears and anxieties are the main enemies of a public speaker.
Most of the time, such fears have no basis. But we are humans, and cannot help feeling apprehensive.
It is true that such apprehensions can be so overwhelming at times that we stop believing that we can be our natural selves.
It is also true that only believing to be your natural self does not help. You need to know a few things that will help to retain your natural calm and poise.
If you have confidence, you can easily get rid of those nagging fears.
Be thorough in the preparation of your speech. See if you have covered all that you have to say. Learn your speech. But do not over-prepare.
Try to make short mental notes of the sequence of the speech. This way you will be able to assimilate and sort of make your own what you have already typed. Practicing in front of a mirror helps.
Do not think that the audience is out there to create problems for you. On the contrary, imagine them to be a group of friends with whom you are going to have a chat.
Think that you are going to share with them what you have so painstakingly and sincerely prepared over the past few days.
In reality, if you are honest with them, they will accept you readily. Think which speakers you liked and which you did not when you were a member of the audience. However, never try to imitate those you liked.
I told you to think that you were going to have a chat with the audience. This also means that your tone must be conversational.
Moreover, you can sprinkle in some humor. In spite of the fact that you are delivering something of value and hence would want all the members of the audience listening to you intently, do not always expect such a situation.
And do not get worried or distracted about this. Were you attentive all the time in all the lectures you attended?
(Sorry, I don’t mean to be personal. You may really be a very conscientious and attentive listener.
This is just an example to help illustrate my point.) Didn’t the presentation go on smoothly in spite of your and a few other’s lacks of attention? So why worry? Rather, take it as something natural.
Before you go to your presentation, relax. You might listen to your favourite music. When you are in the hall before the presentation, walk around a bit to get the feel of the place. Do not drink anything caffeinated or, for that matter, alcohol. Water is the best drink.
Use props. As visual mediums, they help to secure the attention of the audience very easily.
Remember that as you progress from one lecture to the next one you’ll find yourself more and more at ease with the whole thing.
That’s because you have grown confident and learned to be your natural self. You are already a winner.