For many people, the difficult part of a speech is not writing it; rather, it is presenting their speech. Especially for beginning public speakers, the prospect of presenting a speech to an audience, large or small, is terrifying. Although the most effective way to gain confidence in your speaking is to give speeches to many audiences over ten or twenty years, that's not really a practical solution for most people. This article is designed to give you a serious boost to your confidence in your speech in a short period of time.
Step 1: Memorize your speech
It does not matter if you will have the text in front of you through your speech! Memorizing your speech will work wonders on your confidence (for tips on how to memorize your speech, check out this article). With your speech memorized, you can make more eye contact with your audience, which also helps with the effectiveness of your speech. Also, if your speech is memorized, you can practice anywhere and anytime, which ties in to the next step.
Step 2: Practice in all your spare time
In the shower? Practice. On the bus? Practice (quietly). Awake at night? Practice.
This step is extremely important. You have to practice your speech until you feel like you own the speech. If necessary, you should practice until you hate the speech (that feeling should go away after step 3). Practice anywhere; However, if you have the dedication to set out time in your day to practice, then you should use a full-length mirror when possible. Observe your bad habits: Do you clench your teeth? Do you fiddle with your shirt? Do you bob your head or lean forward? Note down these faults, but do not try to correct them yet. Corrections in front of a mirror should come after getting the opinion of a live audience. That's why the third step is vital.
Step 3: Perform in front of multiple live audiences
By this I mean family and friends as the audience. I'd recommend at least ten performances split among at least two audiences. That way, you get feedback from your audience, correct any faults, and then perform again and get more feedback, while always getting at least a second opinion. This is the time to correct bad habits! Try to correct one at a time, focusing on that habit until it disappears completely, then try to get rid of another one.
That's all, folks! If done correctly, this should take under two weeks, and make you feel as confident as a pro. Have fun speaking!