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Overcoming Your Fear of Speaking in Public

Overcoming Your Fear of Speaking in Public

Do you know one of the top five fears is public speaking? It is also known as glossophobia. It is a real, true fear so do not feel you are alone experiencing this.

Mastering public speaking can take some effort, but the benefits are always worth it. Many good speakers started out with a need to overcome some fear of the very thing they now excel at.

Whether you’re employed in a position that requires you to speak in public, or you have the responsibility of presenting to a classroom or group, eliminating your fears of being center stage will help you immensely. First, it is important to identify what common trigger onsets this fear.

Typically, people afraid of speaking in public have a preconceived notion about “what could happen,” which becomes a deterrent for any public speaking endeavor. You might fear getting a negative response from the audience, or perhaps you fear embarrassment that may come from making blunders or you worry if you have the right expertise on the topic and people will question your knowledge.

Instead of manifesting negative thoughts, and ruminating every worse possible outcome, ask yourself “what if you got a positive response from the audience?” Feeling more confident that your public speaking will result in a good experience can help you overcome your fear. Envision your audience applauding and seeking you after to learn more about what you shared.

Try these techniques to help ensure a positive outcome to work through the fear:

1. Be prepared. The more prepared you are for your speech the smoother your presentation will come across. First, understand your audience and what they are expecting to achieve. Then, write out a script of your key points, but don’t read from the script word for word. This is just to be used as an organized guide.

2. Do thorough research. Knowing your content inside and out is a surefire way to eliminate many of your fears. In fact, once you’ve done thorough research, you can probably make the speech without looking at your notes. Have someone who is knowledgeable of the content review your presentation and get feedback. Prepare for your speech so well that you could answer any possible question thrown at you.

3. Practice. Being prepared through practice will lower the stress and fear of being in front of others. However, you mustn’t let that fear conquer you.

Instead:
• Set aside time each day to break your presentation into segments to practice. Stand in front of a mirror or tape yourself to self-evaluate for improvements.
• Keep your sentences short and to the point and repeat key points. A short pause in between points can add anticipation to what you are going to say next.
• Be aware of your body language. Do not finger point or overuse your hands to become a distraction for the audience.
• Try to identify sections and references in your speech that you’re able to freely speak about from your knowledge base. Not only does it show your prowess, but it also helps you relax while presenting.
• Tape yourself to make you aware of voice tone inflections, pauses and if you are repeating words or bad patterns.

4. Invite an audience for a private presentation. Requesting the help of family and friends can help quell any doubts you have about speaking in public. A good idea would be to invite a few of them over and make your presentation to them as your audience. Not only will they be able to give constructive feedback, but they’ll also help to calm your nerves.

5. Shift your mindset – if you were asked to present, this is because someone believes you have the confidence and subject matter expertise to share with others. Believe in yourself!

Spend time watching experts talk about public speaking and body language. Find a mentor or coach to help you work through your fears and limiting beliefs that may hinder your mindset of public speaking.

6. Join a local toastmaster’s group. This is a nonprofit organization that teaches presentation and leadership skills to help people be empowered when speaking in public. Find a local chapter or ask your organization if they sponsor one. Click here to find out more. https://www.toastmasters.org/about/all-about-toastmasters

As with anything else, the effort you put into perfecting the art of public speaking will undoubtedly contribute to dissolving any fears you may have. Show your audience what you’re made of by becoming a fearless master of speaking in public.

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