The art of public speaking is one that not so many are familiar with. Many people shy away from it because, to them, it is not an easy task. The fear of public speaking and tips to overcome this fear has become necessary to be discussed and that is why this post is centred on the topic.
On average, seven out of ten find it difficult to deliver speeches effortlessly. In most cases, the three that do it, do it reluctantly probably because there is no way to avoid it. The art of public speaking is one that is gradually mastered with consistent practice. This means, no one wakes up and starts doing it so well.
How effective is the fear of Public Speaking?
To so many people especially students, they would rather die than come out to deliver a public speech. They develop the fear of public speaking unknowingly and grow with it. I know how you feel right now. Have you been in this condition before? Then read on as we provide you with useful tips to overcome the fear of public speaking.
I recall one day when I was defending my Master’s thesis in the congress of my professors both within and outside the faculty, I was overtaken by fear. I was so nervous with sweating palms and wished it could be postponed till another day. Guess what; No chance for postponement!
Continue reading to learn how I conquered my fear that day through the best tips to overcome the fear of public speaking. One good thing about conquering the fear of public speaking is that it empowers you to get your point across to your audience. Good speaking skills are equally essential to convince your buyers of your product if you are in business. It equally helps you to speak to your boss when seeking a pay rise or promotion in the office.
One thing is certain, the fear of public speaking is real and you can overcome it. Interestingly, there are unique guidelines to overcome this fear. Continue reading as I map out these tips to help you overcome the fear of public speaking.
Organization is one way to achieve any set-out goal. You have to get yourself organized to pursue any purpose and achieve it. Before embarking on a public speech, ensure you organize your presentation materials and thoughts. This will help calm you down, make you focused and most importantly relaxed to deliver your speech successfully without anxiety.
Practice! Practice!! And Practice!!!
The essence of practice is for mastery. The place of practice in every occasion cannot be thrown away how much more when preparing to speak publicly. Good preparation makes you ready and empowered to answer possible questions that will come to you after your speech.
Do you know something interesting about preparation? It gives you confidence. Read your script over and over again, word for word and note down your points before going on stage. This way, you will have no need to use a script or read from a script on the stage.
Practice makes perfect!!!
Debunk fear/Do not be Intimidated by your Audience Appearance
The first way to sink is to fear, once you allow fear, you are doomed to fail. When you fear your audience, you get intimidated automatically and you may not be able to overcome this fear again. This is the point where your failure starts. Bear in mind that your audience does not know what you have come to present.
They are there to learn from you, so debunk fear and intimidation and teach them in a way they’ve never been thought of before. Pay attention to the material you have come to deliver and not your audience reactions. Never forget that in your audience, people will get tired, exhausted or bored. They will express it by pressing phones or yawning. Do not be distracted.
Make a “Powerful” Powerpoint
When using PowerPoint, ensure it is a PowerPoint and not “power notes”. The essence of PowerPoint or slides in presentations is to direct/redirect you when you deviate from your focus. It can as well keep your audience engaged and provide them with valuable hints for jotting down what you say.
Watch Yourself in the Mirror
This is another way to overcome the fear of speaking in public. Look at yourself in the mirror and practice. This way, you feel like you are speaking to someone eyeball to eyeball hence paying attention to critical issues such as your facial expression, gestures, body movement and understanding of the topic.
Practice on/with Another Person
This is another alternative to point five above. You can choose to make a mock presentation where you call people to present before them. This tip is most practised when an examination is involved. My lawyer friend also uses this tip most times as an undergraduate. Whenever he has a presentation, I automatically become his mute court.
There is no specific order for people you can practice on, but it is most advisable to practice with people who have little knowledge of the topic of presentation. This will help them make inputs and corrections where necessary. In the absence of these people, practice on your spouse, friends, colleagues or parents.
When you present to them directly, they will give you feedback, ask you questions if they have any. There is a chance you may get likely questions from these people if they know about the topic very well. This will enable you to answer likely questions when they are posed to you.
Do Not Get Nervous/Do Not Talk Too Fast
There is a degree of effect talking fast has with breathing. People tend to breathe less when talking too fast and this can hamper your confidence. Panic accustoms fear and this is not good for your presentation. Slow down your speaking speed and not your flow, this way you will deliver an intriguing speech that will captivate your audience.
Being unnecessarily nervous can impede your flow and can as well serve as a positive vibe. But you must be cautious of what your nervousness depicts. Your nervousness can equally elate you to deliver an impassioned speech.
Use short and precise sentences. Pause when necessary and push again. A short pause between points creates anticipation among your audience and keeps them focused. By this, you get their maximum concentration.
Record Your Voice
Use a phone or camcorder to record what you say from the beginning to the last. Then play what you have recorded and see where needs corrections or improvement. Make necessary adjustments as you continuously practice.
Attend Classes on Pubic Speaking
In all things, a coach or a mentor is important. Never underestimate the essence of a coach. If you have really tried to improve your public speaking skills and it seemed unrealistic, then enrolling in a class is an alternative. Find a group to attach yourself and follow them to events. Another reason to attend classes on public speaking is to get chances for mock presentations. Through mock presentations (speaking over and over on a subject/topic), you develop your confidence.
Read Related Books on Public Speaking
Get to read books authored by renowned public speakers and see how they began. So many speakers have spoken about the essence of reading-related books on public speaking. Brian Tracy once spoke about a book he read which had a strong influence on him when he started. You can as well pick up the same book to read Eloquence in Public Speaking – Kenneth McFarland.
Pay any price and get the book to read, it will help you a lot in developing the art of public speaking.
- Exercise a while before speaking – this circulates blood and sends oxygen to the brain.
- Sip warm water
- Pick a topic that interests you.
- Get to know at least three synonyms for every word you will be using.
- Relax as much as you can and avoid panic
The above tips are for you to conquer the fear of public speaking. These tips have guided me in mastering the art of public speaking and I believe they will help you to conquer as I conquered my own fear. Never underestimate the power of constant practice and preparation. They make you confident at every point and you conquer the fear of public speaking without knowing it.
Please Share this post with that your friend who has been going through the fear of speaking publicly and help him conquer his own stage fright.
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