6 tips to speak in front of the class with a little more ease!
Whether you’re one of the many who feel sick at the thought of standing in front of a classroom full of children, or one of the lucky few who enjoy the thrill of all eyes on you, our handy guide to dealing with nerves will help make public-speaking that little bit easier.
1. Channel positivity: Remember a time when you felt proud of yourself. Close your eyes and try and let this feeling sink into your body. Try and channel this feeling as you prepare for your speech; you will instantly feel calmer and more assured of yourself.
2. Practise: Once you’ve worked out what you want to talk about, practise. Practise your speech in front of anyone who’ll listen, or even the bathroom mirror. Get used to hearing your own voice out loud. Most phones and tablets have the ability to record and play back, so a good way to practise is to record your voice and play it back to yourself. Listen to hear if you stumble over any words and work out whether you want to read the script word-for-word or if you’re more comfortable having ideas on cards to prompt you.
3. Breathe: Before you begin to talk, take a deep breath in through your nose and slowly breathe out through your mouth. Now do it again. When you speak to the class, remember to take regular pauses and breathe. This is very helpful when you feel the nerves getting the better of you.
4. Plant your feet: When you’re standing in front of the class, have your feet hip-width apart, shoulders back and your chest slightly forward. This should be a comfortable position and it also will give you a feeling of confidence. Feel your weight evenly between the soles of your feet.
5. Slow down: The reason you understand your teacher when they explain things, is partly because they speak slowly when they explain tricky topics. Aim to speak slower than you think you should! It’s much harder for your audience to understand what you’re talking about if you’re rushing – even if it might feel like you’ll get the speech over with faster! The audience also needs time to process what you’ve said and little pauses help them to do this.
6. Remember: You’re just a person speaking in front of other people. Don’t let the worry eat you up. Just say the words and try to smile.
Some of these ideas came from How to Own the Room by Viv Groskop. It’s a fantastic read for teachers who are confident speaking in front of children, but less so in front of adults!