If the thought of speaking in public puts you into a tailspin, you’re certainly not alone. Millions of men and women of all ages share your fears. Anxiety doesn’t just affect you physically; it also compromises your ability to get your point across. Fortunately, there are many strategies for developing your public speaking skills.

When you are speaking in public, there is usually a time frame that you need to stick to. Make sure that you get to your key points before your time is up. Otherwise, you will have wasted all of our time since the audience will not have received the message you were trying to deliver.

If you want to impress your audience when giving a speech, you must practice and prepare beforehand. Know what you’re going to say. You should do some research so you can do a better job supporting your statements. Write down what you want to say. Practice the speech so that you could say it in your sleep. Prepare yourself so you are able to feel confident during the speech.

Never drink before you have to speak in public. People under the influence tend to slur their words or forget them altogether. You may go up to podium and think you have everything under control only to realize you were incorrect. That is why you should skip drinking any type of alcohol.

Know the crowd makeup before you give the speech. If you can, try to learn who will be listening to you. Greet them at the door and ask their names. You will give off a friendlier vibe by becoming personal with some of the audience.

If you are nervous when you first stand up to speak, there are a couple of things you can do. Either choose a person toward the center of the audience to focus on or focus on a point at the back of the room. An EXIT sign is a good choice. This will help calm your nerves.

Take the time to research other important speeches. The internet has a wealth of recorded speeches so that you can observe how they do it. Focus on the qualities that you liked in their speech and emulate them. Look for qualities such as their ease in speaking, their humor and how they capture the attention of the audience.

When asked to speak at a wedding, you may be tempted to try some sort of funny patter or to poke fun at the participants. Even when your intentions are good, this can be hurtful. It is better to speak in a friendly, caring and supportive way at this important event.

Practice your speech over and over until you can give it without looking at your notes. Use a mirror to view how your body language comes across. Also, give the speech to your loved ones. They will help with your weak spots.

Prior to giving your actual speech, practice it in front of a loved one. When you are done, ask them which parts of the speech are fine and which parts need some improvement. You may even want to read it to a few people. This feedback can help improve your speech.

It is a good idea to use slides as a visual aid, but do not allow this to be the largest part of your presentation. If people notice that there is more on the slides than what is coming from your mouth, they will lose interest before you know it.

If looking at an audience makes you nervous, try not to look at anyone in the eye. Instead, look above their heads. Your audience will not be able to tell, and you will not be distracted by anyone’s expression. This will help you keep your focus on your message better.

Always leave your audience wanting more. Nothing is worse than a speaker who drones on and on for what seems like hours. Instead, get your information delivered in a timely fashion. Keep the speech within the requested time parameters. However, do not keep your speech so short that you do not give your audience the information that they desire.

Questions do not need to be reserved until the very end. The audience may forget their questions. The audience likes to interact, so give them the attention they need.

Try watching professional public speakers. You can learn a lot from people that are famous for their public speaking abilities. Take note of how they speak and how they engage the audience. Figure out what it is that makes them successful. Try incorporating some of their habits and styles in your own speeches.

Carefully monitor the speed you use to deliver your speech. Being nervous can lead you to speak too quickly and cause the audience to miss out on important points. But, if you speak too slowly, you run the risk of boring your audience. Take the time to practice and time your speech until you get it right.

If you are using cue cards, only write down simple sound bites that will help you keep on track. Don’t write down your entire speech. If you do, you may end up simply reading your speech off of those cards. That makes for a very boring event to say the least.

Use quotes to your advantage when speaking in public. A good quotation can form the basis of your remarks, or you can intersperse quotes throughout your speech. When using quotes, be sure to give credit to the source. Practice delivering the quote in an effective tone of voice and with the proper inflections for best results.

If you are so nervous during speeches that you cannot look at your audience, try the following trick. Instead of looking into the faces of the people you are speaking to, look at the tops of their heads. Keep looking at different head-tops and your audience will think you are looking right at them as you speak.

Each of these tips has proven effective for individuals who once shared your apprehension. With the right mindset and motivation, anyone can deliver their message regardless of the audience size and environment. While you may not ever look forward to future public speaking engagements, you can be sure that you will no longer dread them.