Most of us tend to have versatile personalities and can’t seem to stop talking in front of family and friends. But when it comes to speaking in public, either in front of a group or on a podium, almost all of us tend to develop cold feet.
Many individuals are afraid of speaking in public for fear of looking foolish in front of others. The fear factor is so high among people that fear of public speaking rates second after the highest fear which is snakes.
Humiliation can be a great damper on a person’s mental state and many fear this would be the result of their public speech. In addition to this, some fear that thier imperfect command over the language would lower the respect others have on them.
Most of the time, people who are scared to speak in public tend to react even before they start their speech. Accordingly, their hearts beat faster; their mouths either go dry or fill up with saliva, their knees tremble, bodies shake and in some cases, they even feel nauseous or black out.
People who fear speaking in public also find it very difficult to deliver their speeches properly. Common symptoms of these include speeking rapidly, stuttering or rambling. Even though some individuals feel better after a while and continue with their presentation, others simply cannot go through the ordeal in a normal state.
If you have a fear of speaking in public and get most if not all of the above mentioned symptoms when asked to make a presentation in public, here are a few useful tips to help you out.
Preparation Pays: The best way to tackle your fear is to be well prepared with the speech. This involves determining the nature of the speech you are about to give, the venue, the type of audience and other conditions that might be looked upon as drawbacks.
It pays to have a good outline of the basic facts and other necessary points of the speech you are about to make. Visit the place where you will be giving your speech, be it s room or a podium, and mentally prepare yourself with regard to the prevalent atmosphere.
Practise makes perfect: Practise your speech several times before you give the final rendition. There are several advantages to this. In addition to boosting your confidence and improving your flow, you can also find it easier to remember the material when you speak in public.
Much of the advice given on public speaking centers on practising alone, in a corner of the room or in front of the mirror. Although this is a good way to practise your speech, another better option would be to practise in front of your friends.
In addition to providing a live audience, your friends can offer suitable hints and ideas to improve your presentation. If you dont have the time to practise in front of a live audience, you can record your speech in a tape recorder and then play it back to see if it needs any improvisation.
Use backups: Never memorize your speeches. In addition to forgeting lines in between, you also tend to feel more nervous about keeping all the points intact in your head. This affects your performance to a great extent.
Backups are very important in cases where you need to give a long speech or are afraid that you might forget some lines in between. Have your speech written down in some sheets. This way, you can quickly refer to them if you forget a few points.
Don’t resort to reading the speech from the notes. Rather refer to the notes only when needed. Just knowing that you have the notes ready in case you forget something can be a great comfort.
The final moment: When you are asked to address the audience, take three deep breaths of fresh air before walking over to the lectern. Count to 10 before starting. This will enable you to relax while arranging your notes properly.
Dont keep looking around nervouly. Rather, stand up tall and face the audience, thinking them to be the friends in front of whom you practised your speech in the first place.
Keep your hands at the side of the podium and use them only for gestures. Have some water at the podium to drink in between your speech. This lets you gather the next point in your mind while the audience also relaxes.