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28 November 2021

10 Ways to Overcome Your Fear of Public Speaking

When you’re asked to perform some public speaking, do you “feel the fear”?

One of our greatest concerns is public speaking, which transforms even grown men and women into nervous wrecks. The very mention of it makes our tongues turn to cotton wool, our internal plumbing act up, and our knees turn to jelly.

All of this, however, is unnecessary because assistance is available. All you have to do now is remember your P’s and Q’s. Let’s begin with the letter P.

Preparing

Consider who you’ll be speaking to when you sit down to write what you’re going to say. Will they be able to comprehend what you’re saying; will they be able to comprehend the technical terms and jargon? If in doubt, keep the ancient adage in mind: “Keep It Simple, Stupid.”

Make sure your speech has a beginning, middle, and end. Consider some anecdotes to support your narrative.
People think in pictures, therefore use words to create visual images for your readers. Also, keep in mind that people want to know what’s in it for them, so make sure you tell them!

Place

If you have the opportunity, take a look at the location before the event. It’s not always possible, but you can check out where you’ll be speaking if you arrive half an hour early.

Stand where you’ll deliver your speech, envision where your audience will be, and double-check that they can see and hear you. You might even want to put a glass of water where you can see it.

Personal Preparation

Consider what you’ll wear before any Public Speaking engagement; if in doubt, dress up rather than down. You can always remove items for a more relaxed look. Men might take off their jackets and ties. Women could take off their jewellery.

Some mouth and breathing exercises should be included in your own preparation. To give your speaking muscles a nice workout, practice uttering some tongue twisters. Take a deep breath and the diaphragm expand. Then, while counting out loud, exhale slowly and steadily, attempting to reach fifty without passing out.

Write your own introduction as part of your own preparation. Write down in bold print, double-spaced, exactly what you want someone to say about you, then have the person introducing you read it. They won’t object, and they’ll most likely be happy and amazed.

Posture & Poise

When you’re summoned to speak, rapidly rise or walk to the front of the room. Pull yourself to full height, stand tall, and carry yourself as if you own the place.
Pause, look around your audience and smile before you begin to talk. It’s possible that you’ll have to wait until the applause stops. Remember that you want the audience to like you, so make yourself approachable.

Pretend

I recommend that you act as if you aren’t nervous since you will undoubtedly be. Nervousness is necessary for public speaking because it increases your adrenaline levels, which sharpens your thinking and gives you energy.

The key is to keep your nerves in check. Telling your audience you’re nervous will just terrify them to death since they’ll fear you’re about to pass out.

The following are some tips for dealing with nerves:

  • Get a lot of oxygen into your system before you speak, run on the spot, and swing your arms around like a lunatic. It extinguishes the stress hormones.
  • Speak to members of your audience when they enter or shortly before you take the stage. This deceives your brain into thinking you’re conversing with a group of buddies.
  • Keep a glass of water on hand in case your mouth becomes dry. One word of caution: do not consume alcohol. It may give you Dutch courage, but your listeners will mistakenly believe you’re speaking Dutch.

Presentation

Your delivery must capture their attention from the start.

“Good morning, my name is Fred Smith, and I’m from Smith Associates,” don’t begin.
It’s a really boring way to start a presentation, even if your name is Smith. Start with some fascinating facts or anecdotes that are pertinent to your presentation.

Consider the audience as people; they will pay attentively if they believe you are speaking directly to them.

It keeps the individuals in the front row alert and ensures that those in the back get the message if you speak louder than usual. Surprisingly, it’s also beneficial to your nerves.

PowerPoint

For those of you who are unfamiliar with it, it is a piece of software that allows you to create gorgeous visuals and text for projection onto a screen.

I’m not a big fan of PowerPoint as a professional speaker. Too many speakers, in my opinion, rely on it to the point where it takes over the presentation. After all, you’re the most crucial aspect in this situation. If you want an audience to believe what you’re saying, they need to see the whites of your eyes.
The emphasis should be on you, not on the technology.

If you want to use PowerPoint, do so sparingly and make sure you’re not the only one pushing the buttons. Why not learn how to use the trusty old Flip Chart, as many experts do?

Passion

This is what brings the audience to a halt. This is what motivates people to hire you or accept what you’re offering. When you combine this with a healthy dose of energy, enthusiasm, and emotion, you have the makings of a fantastic public speaker.

Don’t start telling me, “I’m not that kind of person,” to give your presentation more oomph. There’s no need to go overboard, but you’re giving a presentation to get people to take action, not having a friendly talk in your living room.

Now that the P’s have been completed, let’s move on to the Q’s.

Questions

Decide when you’ll take them and let everyone know right away.
It’s better to take questions at the end of a short speech. If you take them as you go, you may become disoriented and lose your timing.

Never ever deal with the questions first and then summarize. Too many presentations end with questions, and the presentation as a whole falls hollow.

When a question is asked, repeat it to the entire audience and thank the person who asked it. It keeps everyone engaged, allows you time to think, and makes you appear intelligent and in command.

Quit

When you’re ahead, quit. Stick to the scheduled time; if you’ve been requested to speak for twenty minutes, only speak for nineteen minutes, and the audience will appreciate it. Keep in mind that quantity does not equal quality.

President Abraham Lincoln gave one of the most renowned addresses of all time, “The Gettysburg Address,” which lasted just over two minutes.

That’s my signal to quit while I’m ahead.
Now that you’ve read this, you’ll be able to overcome your fear of public speaking.

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