Do you tremble at the thought of having to speak in front a group no matter how small? Do your hands get clammy and your heart starts racing? Many people share this fear and they don’t understand why or how to overcome it. Let’s talk about that today.
Why Are You Afraid To Speak In Public?
The most commonly cited reasons for public speaking include:
– being self-conscious and getting anxiety
– looking nervous and appearing as if you don’t know your topic
– being concerned that you are being judged and found wanting
– remember prior negative experiences in public speaking
– not being prepared or not being comfortable with your current skill set
These are not an exhaustive list, but you can find more detailed information here to help understand the psychology behind our public speaking fears.
How To Overcome This?
Everyone experiences a different journey in how they recognize their public speaking fear, come to terms with it, and then work on overcoming this obstacle. What we all share in common is the ability to be patient with ourselves as we recognize that public speaking is a skill set that takes time to develop.
First, you will need to spend some time mentally preparing for public speaking. Think about who you will be speaking to (your audience), what you will be speaking about (your content), and what you want your audience to remember (your message).
Next, visualize yourself in that space delivering your speech to the audience with confidence. You are at the front of the room delivering your message, speaking with confidence, and making eye contact with the audience. The audience is responding with laughs and nodding heads.
Your next step will be to actually prepare for the speech itself. This will require:
– Background Research – Find out who you will be speaking to, when, where, for how long
– Pick Your Topic – Start narrowing down your speaking topics and write down ideas to refine your message and arguments
– Get Organized – Refine your ideas to a speech that fits that parameters that you found out during our background research
– Practice – Practice your speech until you are comfortable with the material. Word for word memorization may not be needed in all speeches, just an understanding of your topic and familiarization with the main concepts. You can use cue cards / notes to help keep you on track of main points and you can refer to them during your speech.
– Get Feedback – Find a trusted friend or colleague that you can present in front of and get their feedback. Incorporate their suggestions and continue practising.
When speech day arrives, you can put it all together by:
– Focusing On Your Breathing – Take deep breaths as you prepare to go on stage. Visualize on your ability to deliver a confident speech.
– Keep An Open Body Stance – Keep your head up and shoulders back as you stride on stage. Make eye contact with your presenter and the audience. Using a closed position with your shoulders up, head down, and no eye contact will convey nervousness to the audience.
Afterwards, celebrate your achievement after all your hard work and keep on going! Consider joining well-known non-profit groups such as Toastmasters to continue building your public speaking skill set.