How To Overcome Your Fear Of Public Speaking
Public speaking is a fear for many and we can empathise with the sweaty palms, stomach knots and nerves! Although for some it comes naturally, this phobia isn’t uncommon and like any fear, it can be overcome.
We speak at events on a regular basis and also run workshops, so we have plenty of experience in public speaking. If you’re planning on speaking at an event but dreading the thought of lots of people, take a look at our top tips and overcome your phobia!
1. Get stuck in
Firstly, the only way you can overcome any fear is by facing it. Stop over thinking and just do it. The longer you wait and contemplate the more intense your fear will become. As well as this, it gives you less time and reason to convince yourself you cant got through with it. Don’t give it a thought, get yourself out there and start off with a small crowd to introduce you.
2. Take it slow
When we’re nervous we all have the tendency to speak too fast, getting ourselves flustered. In sync with your slow breathing, take it down a notch and pause for a second to get back on track. It’s not easy getting up in front of everyone and people appreciate that. Taking a few seconds shows professionalism and by gathering your thoughts you can get back into it smoothly.
3. Understand your audience
Remember to adjust your speech to your target audience. By understanding your demographic, it will help you connect better with them. If you get a chance before your speech, mingle with a few people. This will not only enhance your connection with them, but it will help you relax knowing a few familiar faces.
4. Inhale, exhale
A bit of simple, yet valuable advice, before you go on, take a few deep breaths. This will not only calm and control your nerves, but whilst presenting, slow and measured breathing will show your audience that you’re confident. It’s quite surprising how much your breathing technique effects your speaking!
5. Don’t rely too much on materials
Although it’s great to have a few pointers, try not to rely on any other materials too much. An audience wants to see a confident, natural looking speaker and looking down at a script constantly isn’t going to look professional. Also, you’ll find that you’ll stumble on your words less, your speech running more smoothly.
6. Practise makes perfect
It’s an obvious one, but it’s also a must! Go through your speech over and over again, rehearsing it as if you were talking to an audience. Knowing your content and slides (if applicable) will help your speech go smoothly. By rehearsing your speech you can look at your other materials as a back up just in case you need a little help.
Keep practising in general. The more public speaking you do the more your confidence will grow. Take up all opportunities available and be proactive at finding events.
7. Don’t give up!
Be patient. Your phobia isn’t going to change instantaneously however much you want it to. Each individual takes more or less time to improve so don’t push yourself too much or compare yourself with others. By equally trying and going with the flow, you’ll get there in your own time. Take note of your speeches and compare yourself so you can focus on the areas of improvement.
8. Positive mentality
You have to have a positive attitude before and during your event. Don’t think about the negative things that could happen, like forgetting or stumbling on your words. This will only impact negatively on your speech, setting yourself up for defeat and disappointment. Sounds cheesy, but go in with a ‘can do’ attitude, walk on like boss and own that presentation, even if you are crying on the inside.
9. Think of it as a conversation, not a performance
You’re talking about something you love, something that interests you, so don’t compare it to an exam criteria. You’re not being assessed; people are there to listen to what you have to say. Interacting with your audience will make your presentation more relaxed and brush away some of that tension.
10. Be yourself
If you love about what you do, let your enthusiasm show during your speech. Oozing passion and knowledge for your subject is infectious to audiences and will keep them intrigued in listening to you. Authenticity is key and if you’re comfortable with being yourself on the stage you’ve got it.