Public Speaking Fear
Has this ever happened to you when you have found out you have to speak in public, or just before you start your public speaking. Your heart begins to pound, your hands begin to shake and sweat, and your mouth goes dry, your breath becoming rapid. Your mind is so cluttered with thoughts that your acute hearing is even affected. You feel nauseous to your stomach and anticipate a panic attack at any moment.
You are suffering from glossophobia, or an extreme fear of speaking in public. You are not alone it affects 75% of the population; in this modern world, this fear of public speaking may greatly impede your professional success, as many roles now include the need to speak in public.
To be able to overcome any fear you must first determine what it is that you fear. Many fear that something will go wrong during the speech. However, it is important to remember that, in most cases, the audience has been in your situation before and understands the nervous jitters. If you drop the note cards, pick them up and move on. If you become tongue tied or forget your thoughts, take a moment to recollect and move on.
While these fears are common, they are often irrational and overblown. Dropping your note cards does not mean that you will lose the deal. Forgetting one line doesn’t lose all of the audiences’ respect for you.
Public Speaking Fear Tips
The next time you must deliver a speech, try these tips to prepare. Practice the speech in front of a mirror or with a group of friends. Feedback can help you improve your message.
Avoid writing your entire speech out on a 10 page manuscript. Instead, choose 1-3 main key points or topics and focus on that. Don’t bore the audience with every, intense, insignificant detail. Instead astonish them with your knowledge on the chosen 3 points.
Use coloured note cards. Also, number the note cards. If you do drop them or they become disorganized, you can quickly look to the numbers or colour to find your place.
Dress the part. If you look good, you will feel good. For the most part, keep your hands at your side and avoid fidgeting. However, some parts of your speech may benefit from hand gestures or some movement.
As you are sitting waiting to begin, take deep breaths. Focus on breathing. If you are the type of person who gets nervous in anticipation, volunteer to speak first. Get it over with.
Some sufferers find that their confidence increases as the speech goes on. The first minute or two may be rocky, but as they get used to speaking and the crowd, they usually are surprised at how fast the time went. However, some sufferers find that their anxiety and fear increases as the speech goes on, making them tongue tied or disorganized. Try taking deep breaths and collecting your thoughts at the beginning of each note card or topic.
How to Overcome Public Speaking Fear
While eye contact is very important, it may be intimidating to look a stranger in the eye. This is a great tip, create an invisible line across the room to look at. Be sure to sweep the room and avoid staring at just one side.
If applicable, encourage audience participation. If so, you may quickly feel like you are simply participating in a conversation, rather than giving a boring speech. Also, audience participation will keep them entertained and interested.
The worst thing that you can do is simply avoid public speaking. In reality, your job will probably demand some form of public speaking in the future, whether it is in front of 5 clients or 500 guests at a conference. Perhaps hire a speech coach, they will give you experience and greatly benefit your speaking abilities and confidence.
Remember that your audience has been in your shoes. They are more forgiving than you think. While you are focusing on that one wrong word, they are focusing on your overall message. If they leave feeling positive or as though they have benefited in at least one way, you have succeeded.