Do you dread giving a speech, or have an extreme fear of public speaking? Fear of public speaking is incredibly common, and not just in those with anxiety. Public speaking anxiety is one of the most common fears shared among the general population, and nearly anyone can suffer from this type of phobia. Most of us can reduce our anxiety of public speaking and increase our confidence.
Research and Know your Topic and Get Organized
The better you understand what you’re talking about the less likely you’ll make a mistake or get off track. And if you do get lost, you’ll be able to recover quickly. Take some time to consider what questions your audience may ask and have your responses ready. Ahead of time, carefully plan out the information you want to present, including any props, audio or visual aids. The more organized you are, the less nervous you’ll be. Use an outline on a small card to stay on track. If possible, visit the place where you’ll be speaking and review available equipment before your presentation.
Practice, Practice, Practice!
Practice your complete speech or presentation several times. Do it for some people you’re comfortable with and ask for feedback. It may also be helpful to practice with a few people with whom you’re less familiar. Consider making a video of your presentation so you can watch it and see opportunities for improvement.
Confront Your Worries and Visualize your Success
When you’re afraid of something, you may overestimate the likelihood of bad things happening. List your specific worries. Then directly challenge them by identifying probable and alternative outcomes and any objective evidence that supports each worry or the likelihood that your feared outcomes will happen. Imagine that your presentation will go well. Positive thoughts can help decrease some of your negativity about your social performance and relieve some anxiety.
Focus on the Speach Material
People mainly pay attention to new information — not how it’s presented. They may not notice your nervousness. If audience members do notice that you’re nervous, they may root for you and want your presentation to be a success. If you lose track of what you’re saying or start to feel nervous and your mind goes blank, it may seem like you’ve been silent for an eternity. In reality, it’s probably only a few seconds. Even if it’s longer, it’s likely your audience won’t mind a pause to consider what you’ve been saying. Just take a few slow, deep breaths.
Recognize your Success
After your speech or presentation, give yourself a pat on the back. It may not have been perfect, but chances are you’re far more critical of yourself than your audience is. See if any of your specific worries actually occurred. Everyone makes mistakes. Look at any mistakes you made as an opportunity to improve your skills.
The Professional Speaker Certification course was created for professionals who understand the compounding benefits of sharing your business or lifestyle idea with large groups of people and do so in a way that makes you look prepared, intelligent, and convincing.
Spencer Institute and NESTA coaching programs are open to anyone with a desire to learn and help others. There are no prerequisites.
That’s it for now.