Today, I am going to change my topic slightly. Instead of focusing on family issues, I would like to deviate a little bit to share a skill which is important and we bound to face it one day – public speaking.
I am not an excellent public speaker although I speak regularly in church meetings. Over the years, well intended friends and family members have been giving me feedback and critics about my public speaking, I really appreciate their honest opinions.
I know, there are some people who are born with the talent of public speaking. As soon as you give them the stage, they have no problem delivering an interesting speech that intrigues many. I am not sure about you. I, like most people, don’t possess such gift naturally; I used to struggle a lot when I need to make a public speech. It varies from small jobs like making announcement in class, laying down rules of games to big and important tasks to make a convincing presentation in attracting investors or customers to sign on the dotted line. The fact remains, whether you like it or not, public speaking is becoming a requirement and responsibility that comes with most jobs and academic endeavors.
Therefore, I am here to share on ways to eliminate, at least minimize, the fears inside of you when you have to speak in a crowd of audiences.
This is a piece of good news: Public speaking is a skill that can be learned and mastered over time.
Once you learn and overcome the fears inside you, you can excel with flying colors. Some are hard skills such as research and organize the contents, making attractive slides. Others are softer skills like speak with the right tone, dress right for professional image and keep eye contact with your audience. Having prepared well definitely helps you to make a great presentation, but before we walk out to the centre stage, it’s inevitable that you’d be nervous and fearful. If this fear is not handled well, it will become the main stumbling block for a killing presentation. Let’s be honest about it, how are you going to present the excellent contents when you are so gripped by fear? Eliminating your fears will help you immensely.
What could be hindering your progress?
Fear of Public Speaking: Common Triggers
One of the most common fears for public speaking is your imagination that your audience does not like your presentation. The possible negative responses deter you from any public speaking endeavor. Another reason for the fear is embarrassment that comes from you are making a fool in public. Why do we focus on the negative? We have to imagine how you will get positive responses from the audience and then work towards that goal.
Yes. I can assure you that there are many practical actions you can be more confident in speaking in the public and overcome the fears. Confidence is the key to help overcome your fear. How do I lessen the fear for public speaking?
Try these 5 simple and practical tips in eliminating your fear and working towards positive outcome:
There is no substitute for being more prepared in your speech or presentation. The more prepared you are the better your speech will come across. The psychological effect is great. You’ll feel confident when you know you have done all the preparation necessary to make a great presentation. Therefore you have to do what is necessary to get yourself thoroughly prepared.
2) Do comprehensive research.
Your speech will appear to be very empty and non substantial if it does not have good and rich content. You have to thoroughly research your topic and learn of all the facts and content inside out. Once you know your content is great and you have learned it well, it’s a surefire way to overcome many of your fears. Your notes for the speech are important. They’re there to help remind you when you suddenly forget part of the content. However, I would encourage you to make a speech without looking at your notes. It’ll come across to your audience that you are more natural as well as more authentic.
Speeches come out from you as a person. Your voice, body language and style play vital role in making a great presentation. You may have been disappointed previous presentations made because they didn’t come across well. Most of the time you realize the reason for a poorly presented speech was that you didn’t rehearse and practice enough. These negative experiences shouldn’t be your excuse for not attempting public speaking again. Instead you take actions to eliminate the fear and negative memories:
- Spend many hours reading and re-reading your speech. You know exactly how you can score well in school; you revise your work again and again. Public speaking is of no difference. You’ll eventually commit the content to your memory by rehearsing over and over again.
- Identify a part in your speech that you’re an expert or having in-depth knowledge about that subject. Talk about it freely. It shows your “authority” by giving expert advice while you’ll be more relax to present a familiar subject.
Before the big day when you’re on the cetre stage, you may want to request help from family members and friends to listen to your speech and subsequently give their honest opinions. There’s nothing better than having your presentation, albeit a smaller audience, goes live. The group’s feedback would be very valuable for you to improve upon. At the same time, the session will also calm your nervousness.
As always, when I have a presentation to make, be it in work, church, casual activities, I will spend some quiet moments to pray. Praying to an almighty God who cares for the minute details of my life gives me the assurance that I am in the good hands. I don’t allow fears and any negative energy to paralyze me but I trust in His loving kindness and strength.
As with all endeavors in life, public speaking requires us to put in concerted effort to make a success. Fear is a double-edged sword. Fear can paralyze you if you don’t handle it well. However, fear can also be a motivating force to spur you on to better prepared your speech. Remember to thorough research and learn of the topic, practice your presentation individually as well as in a private group. By being well prepared, you are in the position to show the world that you’re a fearless master of public speaking!