Do you flinch every time someone mentions the words ‘public speaking? Even if you are otherwise confident in your life, the prospect of speaking to a big audience of people is not easy to go through. But that is common for many individuals – the fear and anxiety of public speaking.
It is among the most common fears in the world. Unfortunately, it is one thing many have to overcome, because of career prospects and other opportunities. There is a lot you can do to minimise this issue, and the following tips can greatly help in that regard:
- Always start small – if public speaking is something you are just stepping into, you will do well to take small steps at first. Get a few friends and family members to practice your speech with. When you speak to smaller groups of people you know, you can establish solid foundations and build up your skills and confidence from there.
- Invest in preparation – if there is one thing that can ease your nerves and fear of public speaking the most, it is good preparation. When you know the material fully, you will feel that vital confidence to present it well to your audience. Knowing every part of will enable you to feel that you will be able to deliver it no matter what. Rehearsal is key to gaining this level of confidence. Practice delivery of the information several times, till you know you have it.
- Memorising the words doesn’t always work – there is no way to become good at public speaking or even to feel less anxiety about it if you set out to memorise the words of your speech. The goal for you should be to rather focus on the key points and learn your material around them. There are also prompts on various subtopics that you can use to better prepare the speech. Trying to memorise it will only add to the stress.
- Don’t use common bullets – forget about the endless monologues and boring bullet points on presentations. These don’t leave a lasting impression on the audience. Instead, make your material the focus of interest by adding in more visuals and other cues, which better convey your message.
- Work on the last-minute stress – every professional public speaker can tell you that the most amount of stress they feel comes just before they get out to face their audience. The way you can prevent and minimise that is by visualising a positive outcome. This is a method that professional athletes use to boost their results on the field. You can also focus on taking deep breaths, to stay composed and calm.
- Find something to focus on – when you are presenting in front of an audience, it will help greatly if you know someone in there and you can focus on them. Having a familiar face to look at and ease your nerves during the presentation can make all the difference. You can even introduce yourself to a few members of the audience before the presentation starts.
- Engage with the audience – instead of making it a monologue, you need to make every speech a two-way interaction. Include questions that you ask, and induce participation. This not only reduces boredom in your audience but also enables you to speak with greater ease.
Following these simple strategies is a good way to reduce the fear of public speaking. Remember, it takes a lot of preparation, but overcoming those negative feelings is never an impossible task.
© Presence Training