I'm here to share with you some steps to overcome a fear of public speaking. Millions of people around the world have a very real fear of public speaking. Studies show that this fear ranks up there with claustrophobia and the fear of heights. Even people who are considered to be great speakers sometimes feel afraid or anxious before getting behind that podium. But there are ways to make public speaking a more pleasant experience. Check out these steps to overcome a fear of public speaking and you'll be well on your way.
1. Make Sure You’re Speaking on a Topic That You Are Passionate about
This is one definitely one of the most important steps to overcome a fear of public speaking. If the topic doesn’t get you fired up, then good luck getting the audience to feel that way. Always try to talk about topics that you have a real interest in. That way you are less likely to focus on your nervousness and more on the material.
2. Know Your Topic inside out
The more familiar you are with the topic that you’re speaking about, the more confident you will feel. Even seasoned public speakers find it hard to speak about something they don’t know anything about, so do your homework. Do the research and be prepared.
3. Plan What You Are Going to Say
Writing a speech then memorizing it is usually a bad idea. If you forget one word, which is very possible because you are nervous, that could throw off your whole presentation and leave you staring open-mouthed at the audience like a deer in the headlights. Going to the other extreme, not writing anything down and just winging it is not recommended either. Very few people can pull that off. Most successful speakers will have notes that outline what they want to say and keep them from straying too far from the point. As a bonus, it also gives them something to do with their hands.
4. Practice, Practice, Practice
The saying "practice makes perfect" is very true. Use your notes and practice delivering your speech as much as you can. It will get easier every time. And if you can convince your friends or family to act as an audience for you, that would be even better.
5. See Fear as a Positive
Being well prepared will reduce the anxiety you feel before you give your speech but it won’t go away altogether, so the trick is to make it your friend. Remember that those butterflies in your stomach and sweaty palms are really just a surge of adrenaline. Fear is a good thing because it keeps us from doing really stupid things and besides, when you’re afraid, your heart rate increases and your eyes are brighter. It also brings color to your face so while your knees may be knocking, you will look great.
Whether you are giving a formal speech, doing a presentation or just giving a toast at your friend’s wedding, it will always go better if you know what you are going to say, so take the time to prepare. The better you know your material, the less likely you are to make a fool of yourself, and that’s what we are all really worried about in the end.