Public speaking is a requirement and responsibility that comes with most careers, businesses (large and small), and academic endeavors.
Whether you’re employed in a business that requires you to speak in public, use public speaking to expand and build a business of your own, or you have the responsibility of presenting to a classroom or social group, eliminating your fears of being the center of attention on stage will help you immensely.
Mastering public speaking can take some focused and determined effort, but the benefits are always worth it. Of course, there are some people who seem to be born with the talent, but the majority of people will need to apply themselves and learn these skills over time. Like many others, today’s good speakers started out with a need to overcome their fear of the very thing they now excel at!
What could be holding you back from expressing your intelligence and your greatness via public speaking?
Fear of Public Speaking: Common Triggers
Typically, people that are afraid of speaking in public have a preconceived idea about what negative things could happen, which becomes a “block” to success for their public speaking endeavors. The fear of getting a negative response from the audience, embarrassment that might come from making blunders in public, or simply the fear of being the center of attention can paralyze you and make you avoid the opportunities that public speaking can provide..
Think of it this way: what if you got an enthusiastic and positive response from the audience? The good news is that there are intentional actions you can take to shift the odds of a positive response into your favor, so the outcome encourages you to continue. Feeling more confident that your public speaking will result in a good experience can help you overcome your fears and take advantage of the many positive benefits of being an accomplished speaker.
Try one or more of these techniques to ensure a positive outcome and reduce or eliminate the fear you might feel when speaking in public:
- Be prepared. The more prepared you are for your speech, the smoother your presentation will come across. Do what is necessary to ensure that you’re thoroughly prepared, but don’t over-stress this aspect of your speaking.
- Do thorough research. Knowing your content inside and out is one surefire way to eliminate your fears. In fact, once you’ve done thorough research, you can probably deliver the speech without looking at your notes, and the volume of information you have will help you to answer questions after the speech as well!
- Practice your speech. Maybe you’ve been in the situation where your presentation didn’t come across as well as you would have liked because you didn’t practice it enough. And because it didn’t go well, you felt embarrassed or apprehensive and now, you’re insisting on never attempting public speaking again. However, you can’t let that fear conquer you. Instead:
- Spend a few hours reading and re-reading your speech to increase your comfort level. Just like with subjects in school, you’ll raise your confidence by committing most of the content to memory. Choosing to rehearse your speech can help you gain additional confidence and prevent dependence on notes. You’ll look and sound more knowledgeable by not having to refer to notes all the time.
- Try to identify sections and references in your speech that you’re able to freely speak about from your knowledge base. Not only does it show your ability, but it also helps you relax while presenting because you know your stuff!
- Invite a friendly audience for a ‘practice’ presentation. Requesting the help of positive family members and friends can help reduce your doubts about speaking in public. A good idea would be to invite a few people over and make your presentation to them as your test audience. Not only will they be able to give constructive feedback, but they’ll also help to calm your nerves because you’ll have delivered the information prior to your big event.
As with anything else, consistent effort put into perfecting the art of public speaking will contribute to reducing or even eliminating any fears you might have. Show your audience what you’re made of by using the tips above to become a fearless master of speaking in public!