Public speaking is a common form of anxiety, and if you fear public speaking, you are not alone. Fear of public speaking, or glossophobia, is astoundingly common. It has been estimated that as many as 77% of the population is anxious about speaking.
If you too have a fear of public speaking, it is time to overcome it. It’s not as difficult as it may seem to you. Many have done it through preparation and persistence, and so too can you.
In this article, we will talk about some tips that work to overcome a fear of public speaking.
1. Know your topic
The first step for any good public speaking session, whether you fear it or not, is to know your topic well. The better you understand your topic, the more confidence you will have, and the chances of you making a mistake or getting off track are minimized. Even if you lose your place, you can recover quickly when you understand your topic well.
2. Plan and be organized
You should plan your presentation well ahead of time, not leaving anything for the last minute. You should be clear with your content, props, audio, and visual aids. The more organized you are, the less nervous you will be while speaking. If you can, visit the venue and spend some time on stage, you will gather a lot more confidence.
3. Know your audience
Just like knowing your topic is important, knowing your audience is equally so. The more you learn about your audience, the less nervous you will feel. Moreover, knowing your audience will help you prepare your content with them in mind.
4. Don't worry about the surroundings
One of the biggest reasons people fear public speaking is because they think too much about the surroundings and the fact that everyone’s attention is on them. They worry about what others will think of them, and so on. The people in the audience are present because they are interested in hearing what you have to say. Keep this thought in mind and remove every other thought from your mind. If the audience is sitting there with straight facial expressions, it does not necessarily mean they are bored – it usually means they are concentrating on what you are saying.
5. Practice makes perfect
The more you practice, the better skilled you are. You should practice your presentation many times. For the first few occasions, you can do it by yourself, but once you are comfortable doing it, try to practice it in front of a small audience or friends or family. If you cannot do this, the best thing is to practice in front of a camera and record your complete session. Once done, go back and look at your session to see where you can improve it. Figure out what is missing and which parts of the presentation need polishing.
6. Visualize success
Once you have practiced your presentation and are comfortable with it, start the visualization process. Try to visualise your presentation going well. You can reduce your anxiety and negativity about your social performance by thinking positively like this. It is one of the simplest ways to feel more confident about anything you do.
7. The light effect
If you have control over it, darkening the room may reduce your anxiety during your speech. There are advantages to this – the faces of your audience become less visible and you won't get distracted. However, it reduces the bond with your audience and you should definitely turn the lighting up when you need to interact with them.
8. Take your time
Stepping onstage in front of a big audience can make even an experienced speaker nervous. The key to controlling your nerves is to take it easy. Take your time and walk slowly to the stage. When you act slowly and carefully , the chances of making mistakes are less.
If you don't make mistakes in the initial few minutes, your confidence will be growing. Even if you make a mistake or fumble your words at first, it is fine, you are human and most audience members will empathize with you. Before you start your presentation, take a deep breath and sip some water.
9. Focus on your material
The truth is, most audience members will not even notice your nervousness. They focus on the information you are sharing and not so much on how you are sharing it. So you should focus on your material too and not how nervous you are feeling. In most cases, there will always be one audience member on their phone or yawning. It's not uncommon to find rude, tired or bored people in a crowd. This has nothing to do with you personally.
So just focus on conveying that message or telling that story instead of what you think the audience is thinking.
10. Join a group
If public speaking is part of your job and you have to master it one way or another, then you should consider joining a speaking group. Join a group where people are in a similar boat to you, and work with them to become a better speaker and increase your confidence.
The above steps will surely help you overcome a fear of public speaking. Nervousness in certain situations is normal and public speaking is no exception. All you need is the determination and the tools to overcome it.
About the author:
Akash Tripathi, a Content Marketing strategist at Top Mobile Tech , has 10+ years of experience in blogging and digital marketing. At Top Mobile Tech, he covers various how-to and tips & tricks related to iPhone and more related to technologies.