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How to overcome the fear of public speaking

Updated: Apr 13, 2020

Be a PRO at Public Speaking

Are you afraid to speak in public? Do you feel that the adrenaline and dopamine surging through your body is making you nervous and anxious? Are you afraid you might embarrass yourself on stage in front of the audience? Whether you are a professional about to give a presentation all by yourself at the next meeting or you are a college or high school student and you have to present on a topic to the rest of the class, all of us will have to do some public speaking at some point in our lives.

With the help of these tips, from experts at public speaking, you will be on your way to nailing any presentations and not hesitate if you are asked to talk to an audience ever in your life.

Just remember, Even Warren Buffett Had Public Speaking Anxiety At First

Get Organised

When you organize all of your thoughts and materials it helps you to become much more relaxed and calmer. When you have clear, organized thoughts it can greatly reduce your speaking anxiety because you can better focus on the one thing at hand, giving a great speech. So better write a speech in clarified way which you can easily understand later on.

Make and Follow a Pre-Routine

Walk and rehearse while twirling a coin in your fingers; it’s like chewing gum helps you focus when writing or working before exams. Do deep-breathing exercises; take a walk or exercise/meditate (nothing too strenuous) to take cortisol levels down before coming to the workplace, school or venue. Do whatever helps calm your nerves and releases dopamine and endorphins to lift up your mood, before beginning your speech or presentation.

Practice what you are going to say

Prepare your presentation or material in advance so you have time to practice. Create an outline, and use presentation slides as pointers and guide for what you have to say. Don’t make your slides wordy if you are presenting on power point. Include only the gist of your points so that the audience focuses on you instead of the slides.

Go through your presentation; time it out, check the microphone levels, if you are using a microphone. Get familiarized with the space where you have to speak, if permitted to do so. Practice your material in front of a friend or record your speech to make yourself familiar with your style of speaking, and get reviews on it.

Eliminate Fear of Rejection

“What if my audience hates my speech? What if they boo me off stage?” Try to eliminate all of your fears of rejection. The audience is there to listen to you for a reason.

Don't Speak Tooooo Fast

This is the major reason why someone fails at speaking confidently in public or audience. The slowly you speak, the more the audience will understand, and more calm and relaxed you will feel too. (tried it and succeed). Also speaking fast will make you short of breath and hence creating a mess.

Try To Smile While You Are Speaking

Always try to smile after you end your line with a full stop. This will have a good impression of yours on the listener(s) and hence making you more confident.

Pay special attention to body language

As Dananjaya Hettiarachchi, 2014 World Public Speaking Champion, has put it, “great speakers keep their body open so there is no barrier between you and me.” If you are anxious, you can channel your anxiety inducing adrenaline from your quivering hands to making gestures to aid in explanations, or you can use the space you have to walk-and-talk.

Practice in front of the mirror and improve yourself before the final day. It will also help you get a fair idea about your body language. You will notice subtleties in your body language. If you are nervous, you may cover your vital organs by folding your arms. A way to overcome this is by holding your inner palms out when speaking. You connect more with your audience and help them comfortable and relaxed by doing this.

Always have a Contingency Plan

Always plan ahead. Have a c contingency plan for unexpected situations e.g., where your equipment may not work or your opening is not what you expected, or the meeting may run late and you won’t have time to speak. The more you think of these scenarios before hand and come up with an alternate scenario, the easier it will be to remain confident and think on your toes when something does go wrong.

I hope these tips would really help you the next time you speak publically. Please leave your views down in the comment section and please do share if you liked it. Thanks :)

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