Fighting The Fear of Public Speaking

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Public speaking – why is it such terror to most people? What should you do if you get the scare while you are on stage? These are some of the questions whose answers most aspiring and first time speakers seek answers to.

The good news is, you are not alone! Millions of people across the globe, which happens to be the larger percentage, fear speaking in public. There is even a name for it; Glossophobiathe fear of public speaking.

Factors That Could Affect Your Public Speaking Event

fear of public speakingLet me share with you a personal story; I started teaching in high school when I was very young; actually as I was just getting in to my 20’s. It so happened that the first school I taught in was a girls only school. Here I was, a very young (and surely handsome) man, all surrounded by very young girls in their ripe teenage age. Needless to say, some were even older than I was, yet I was to be their teacher.

My hardest times during the entire teaching ordeal was any time I was to address these girls, especially during morning assemblies. As soon as the girls spotted me coming over to the assembly ground, they would scream, shout and yell for lack of better words. I was the hot celebrity to them, but to me, it was all torture. Wait until I get to addressing them and that was when hell would break loose.

In the beginning, the combination of all these factors would make me to almost freeze in front of the students. If this were to happen, I would lose my moral authority as a teacher. So, I had to learn better; I learned to plan my speeches, and sometimes even recite them in private to ensure that I did not panic while standing before them. I would also get to the assembly ground way before the girls came.

So, how do you overcome this fear so that you can actualize your dream of becoming a renowned public speaker? Below are some answers.

How To Overcome The Fear of Public Speaking

1. Plan, Plan, Plan

Well, it’s all in the planning! By planning, I don’t mean you just create some PowerPoint slides and carry on. I mean you have to take a pen and a paper and ask yourself some serious questions; Questions like, Why did you land in the public speaking field? What is it that you want to achieve by the end of the speech?…among others. If you can’t answer these questions with clarity, then you have no business being in the public speaking industry whatsoever. You will end up wasting both your time, and that of your audience. Is that what you really want?

2. Don’t think fear

If you are only thinking of yourself, what others might be thinking of you, or even how fearful you are, you will most definitely panic. Don’t allow yourself to think this. It’s not going to take you anywhere. Instead, think about the audience. Ask yourself what it is that they may be thinking about; the questions they have going through their mind about your speech.

3. Make an Easy Speech Structure

If you have very little experience at public speaking, it is advisable that you begin by structuring your message in a very simple format. Make it clear, simple, applicable, comprehensible and notable.

Important Note: Repeat and Recap your speech as you progress. This allows your audience to assimilate and let sink what you are telling them.

4. Talk, Don’t Speak

Do not speak to your audience. Instead, talk to them. Think of the audience as a group of friends. Then use simple, friendly and uncomplicated words to talk to them. Your speaking style should be conversational, all this while trying to make the audience’s life easy.

5. Breath!

Sometimes, even with a lot of preparations, you will still feel the fear. Remember to just keep breathing! A good move would be to plan and then rehearse aloud. It may take time for you to feel comfortable with a loud rehearsal but once perfected, it works like charm. I know from experience ;)

6. Walk Tall

You should know that the audience does not know you are afraid. Don’t let them notice. Compose yourself, walk straight, talk with authority and simply walk tall. After all, they are here to listen to you because you are the authority in what you are talking about!

7. Finally..

Your voice – How can you describe it?

It’s important to ask yourself what emotion you want to convey to your audience. Do you want excitement? curiosity? Interest? Start by talking slowly and in a clear way. Then tune it up so that you can effectively communicate the emotion. Above all, avoid boring the audience because they will tune off your speech.

Following these simple tips will guarantee you success as a public speaker taking off any fear of public speaking that you may have in no time. Just go ahead and try it.

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