The key to solving your problem is first understanding why it occurs. Once you get the diagnosis right, the cure would be evident, but maybe it is a bitter pill, but it sure will cure you. Here are some possible reasons why you stammer in front of an audience:
You have a stammering problem that gets accentuated when speaking to an audience. You feel overwhelmed by the occasion, and a stammer is a consequence. You are not comfortable facing an audience and making eye contact whilst trying to desperately meet their expectations. You are unprepared, or you tend to over-prepare and have too many thoughts running in your mind. You want to deliver something excellent which outdoes others; the pressure just piles on, and you end up stammering. You tend to forget or your vocabulary is limited, or your flow gets interrupted.
If you can identify one or more of the reasons for your stammering problem, the remedy would be largely clear. Here are a few suggestions to help you become an engaging speaker and enable you to make effective presentations. Prepare well; adapt your talk/presentation to the audience’s needs, adjust the content to suit the time, audience, and depth of the topic coverage.
Oral communication is not just about talking; it is a comprehensive package that includes your dress sense, your mannerism, your confidence; your tone & language, the flow of your speech/
resentation, how well you engage the audience, and how you adapt to the moods/situation/feedback that you can sense. Be creative in how you deliver your talk; surprise the audience with a gimmick or props/ get them engaged in the process by using activities/ exercises/ getting them to respond.
Utilize the pitch/tone/rate of speech effectively; vary it to get attention or to dramatize. If required, use cue cards to know the key points/jokes/examples that emphasize/illustrate a point. Make eye contact; especially with those in the audience giving you positive feedback by nodding in agreement / smiling in appreciation / clapping for you.
You may still end up with some bloopers/ technical glitches/ unexpected distractions, but you can still never get things back on track – forget that you are in charge! Practice/ learn/experiment/take risks/ use opportunities to improve/work on your weak spots/ be open to criticism/ negative feedback. Don’t memorize and replay – your talk has to have an element of spontaneity.
Feel free to contact Jitesh Gadhia for a Presentation & Speaking Skills Session.