6 Tips For Reducing The Fear of Public Speaking
If the thought of standing up in front of a crowd and giving a speech sends chills down your spine, you’re certainly not alone. According to the University of Lowa, approximately 75% of people experience glossophobia – the fear of public speaking. This makes it one of the most common phobias that exist in the world today.
However, don’t fret! The good news is that you can reduce your anxiety and perform exceptionally well. Here are some useful tips that will get you started on calming those jitters:
Nothing helps ease the fear of public speaking more than knowing your material well. You should always rehearse your entire speech several times before the big talk. That way, you’ll feel so much more confident when it’s time to step onto the stage.
If you’re new to public speaking, you should also ask a friend or colleague to watch you do a dummy run. They’ll be able to give you useful pointers on eye contact, confidence and speech flow.
Take your time
So often you go to presentations to find that the speaker is talking so quick that you can barely keep up with what they’re saying. When you’re nervous, it’s only natural to speak faster, but try to convince yourself that you are clam and in control.
Don’t be afraid to slow down and use pauses in your speech. There’s nothing wrong with a moment of silence. In fact, pausing frequently is strongly advised, as it helps you to recollect your thoughts and regain your composure.
Don’t give in to negative self-talk. Instead of thinking, “I’m going to be terrible out there”, imagine yourself giving the speech and getting the result you want. Studies have shown just how effective positive visualisation can be – so give it a go!
Any stress will make your nerves worse; so don’t add to it by being in a rush. Make sure you get to the venue well ahead of time. This will give you a chance to set up, get accustomed to the room and relax a little before the audience arrives.
Ditch the script
Normally, delivering a compelling speech means interacting with the audience – and that’s just not possible if you’re reading a script. For starters, you’ll be tied to one spot, and your eyes will be constantly on the page. This will make it harder for you to convey a sense of conviction and belief.
What’s more, if you do attempt to maintain eye contact while reading, it’s likely you’ll lose your place in your script. This never goes well, and can shatter your confidence.
As a result, it’s best to make a list of key points on cue cards. Just remember to print them off in large font. That way, you’ll be able to glance at them occasionally to help jog your memory.
Before you even begin to present, the audience will base their first impressions on your appearance. Make it count! Dress confidently and appropriately for the occasion. Not only will this increase your credibility, but knowing that you look great will also boost your self-esteem.
Above all, remind yourself that it’s okay to be nervous. Public speaking is not a natural-born skill for anyone, nor is it even a miraculous talent for most people. Consider it an ability that can be mastered over time by using these simple tips.