As a pastor, I frequently attend meetings or groups that involve public speaking. Often, a person will be asked to say a few words who does not typically speak in front of large groups. Panic sets in; for me as well as the other person. I know they are nervous and I feel their pain.
Public speaking is still one of the top fears of many people. If you are like most people, you do not speak to large groups every day. You probably do not speak to large groups weekly. But you will be asked to speak publicly at some point in your life. It may be at a wedding or a funeral. It may be at a banquet or an anniversary party. It may even be on a Sunday morning when your pastor asks you to read something from the Scriptures.
So here are a few tips for those of you whose knees buckle at the thought of public speaking.
Take a deep breath and relax. Concentrate of breathing slowly. It will slow your heart rate and keep you from shaking. And it will help you think more clearly.
You have something to say and it is important. We really want to hear it. Don’t worry about the “eye rollers”. They would roll their eyes at Rev. Billy Graham.
Don’t tell them you are nervous. Everyone already knows because everyone gets nervous. Even the one who speaks regularly gets nervous. If they don’t, then they should. So just get up, tell them your name, and start speaking.
Respect the time you were given. People are good with nervousness, note cards, and even stumbling over words. But they are not good with speakers running over time. So keep it short (including prayers).
Smiling is like breathing. It helps you relax. It helps them relax. You can get away with almost anything if you smile.
You will be asked to speak at some point in your life. Don’t shy away. Accept the challenge as a gift. Someone honored you enough to ask you to share your thoughts or your heart. You matter to them and you matter to God. So give God the glory and speak up with confidence.