What is Public Speaking?
Have you seen the people on stage twitching in the head or stuttering or playing with their hands? It happens with a lot of people while speaking in front of an audience.
Trust me, I have been there too. I was so scared to go up on stage that I stopped taking part in various activities in elementary school.
What if I say the wrong word, will people judge me?
What if my speech is not good?
What if they ask me a question and I am not able to answer it?
What if I stutter?
Lots and lots of these kinds of questions came into my mind and I always ran away because of this fear.
How to Overcome Fear of Public Speaking?
It took a lot of time and effort for me to get over it. Even today I get the jitters when I go up on stage. Trust me on this if you try, it will get better and better.
According to Wikipedia, speech anxiety is also called Glossophobia. Now a lot of people might say why you need to improve on this if you can avoid this. Okay, do it. No problem. How long will you avoid it? How long will you keep the things you want to do inside of you?
I have always seen people who are successful in speaking confidently in front of an audience. Its either you don’t plan on being successful or famous or you would like to lose that success over something that you can outgrow.
How to Overcome Stage Fear of Public Speaking
If you do want to overcome the fear just follow these steps and stick to them. Here I am sharing some of the proven tactics on how to overcome stage fear.
10 Ways to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking
1. Look Out for the Audience:
The first thing I need you to do is analyze your audience. Know what kind of people will you be performing in front of. They could be your seniors or a group of youngsters like you or oldies like you. The main point here is that you need to prepare yourself to talk to them.
I talk to my friend casually but with my seniors I need to be formal. Just like that, you need to watch how you are interacting with the audience.
If you speak to the youth formally, they might not listen to you. Honestly, I won’t. Why would I listen to a person who is so formal with me? Why not talk to a person who is friendly to me? You need to spot the difference and act accordingly.
2. Prepare Yourself:
“Proper preparation prevents poor performance.” James Baker
Tell me one thing will you pass an exam without preparing for it? Of course, you can cheat (which is dangerous), but that is secondary. If you are speaking in front of an audience, would you like it if it all goes in vain? You need to interact with your audience not just speak things that people are not interested in hearing. For that interaction, you need to have good knowledge about your topic. You need to be confident while you speak. Even if you are wrong, just be confident and connect with the audience to make an impact. Rehearse before the big talk. If you are speaking in a place where you have limited time, plan the things you will say and always keep a backup in case you finish early.
“Practice makes a man perfect.” Vince Lombardi
So you need to keep practicing. Don’t ever dare to go out and speaking without practicing. You know why? What will you speak when you don’t know anything?
Write your speech or script on a piece of paper. Reading it many times will not only help you remember words but also help you understand the context better. One tip I have for you is that if you do end up taking that piece of paper while you give your speech and let us just say you forget something and you want to look at the paper, look in a way no one sees you. If you are caught reading, you lose the interest of a lot of people.
4. Eliminate the Fear of Rejection:
What is the worst that can happen to you while you are speaking in front of an audience? They could laugh at you? They can judge you? Now I want you to throw these kinds of thoughts into the waste bin. Let them be, you at least have the guts to go up there and speak. Know the difference between the person who is speaking and the person who is listening. There is a reason why you are speaking and you have an audience to convey.
If looking at the audience makes you nervous, face it. If you don’t make eye contact, you won’t connect with the audience.
5. Record Your Voice and Hear it:
Aren’t you curious how you sound while you speak? I am. I always record my voice while practicing for my presentation. Not only it helps me improve my faults but also gives me the confidence I need for the day. If you stutter or are afraid of the pronunciation, the best way is to record your voice and hear it. You will know what needs to be changed.
6. Be Real:
Pretending to be someone else you are not. How long do you think you can keep this façade? Lies do not last long nor do the fake people. I think you can interact well with your audience if you are yourself. Even while talking about real-life experiences, don’t exaggerate. Be realistic.
7. Practice the Speech in Front of Someone:
The first time I gave a presentation in class it was a disaster. When I talked to my friend about it, he suggested that I should try speaking in front of someone. It could be your parents or siblings or friends or even a dog. If you can find someone you know in the audience, it changes everything.if you have that one person, focus on them throughout. Since you know them, there will be less fear and you will also be able to maintain eye contact with the audience.
8. Take Public Speaking Classes:
If you tried everything and still are not able to overcome the fear, you can always seek the assistance of a professional. These days you can find various public speaking classes or you can even take an online session. These people are there to train you to outgrow the fear. So if you want, take their help.
9. Avoid Talking too Fast
Whenever I have speech anxiety, I talk too fast. It’s like I have a train to catch. Talking too fast makes you breathe less. If you breathe less you are bound to have an anxiety attack like I did. So, to avoid this kind of situation, practice before and try taking small breaks in between. Like if you are about to start a new topic, take a 2-5 second break in between.
10. Face Failures:
I remember during my first presentation, my teacher made a negative remark in between. At that time, that one remark ruined my whole presentation because the only thing that was in my mind was that I lost. Even my legs started shaking. It was a disaster but I learned one thing from it. If I had ignored that remark or taken it in a positive way, things would have been different. From then on if someone now makes a negative comment, I first think about whether that thing is helpful for me in any way. Only then I answer (politely).
In the end, I just want to say, if you keep on speaking in more events, you will improve. The more you speak, the more chances you get to kick the fear away.
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Public Speaking is now the biggest factor to improve when you boost your personal skills & the major challenge comes in each & everyone is “fear of public speaking”. But I hope that today you have learned some ways & methods you can try to overcome the fear of public speaking.
I hope you enjoyed reading and gained some knowledge.