Public Speaking Anxiety Can Be Overcome with These Simple Tips
Public speaking anxiety is common. Although becoming a superb orator is not something that everyone is capable of, becoming comfortable in front of an audience certainly is.
Did you know that the number one fear in America is public speaking? Following it closely in second place is the fear of death. In other words, more people in the United States would rather die than live through stage fright.
This is when you know that the fear of public speaking is becoming an epidemic in America. Learn how to make a public speech confidently, and you will be ahead of most people.
How to Overcome Public Speaking Anxiety
Preparation is key. Read your speech or presentation out loud to yourself over and over again. When you are comfortable with this, deliver it to people whom you feel comfortable around such as your parents or a few friends.
If you are worried about embarrassment, remember these are the people who have probably already seen you at your worst. What have you got to hide?
Practice the timing of your speech, any difficult words, and ask for input. Was there anything your practice audience didn’t understand?
Clarity is important, and the more times that you deliver your presentation, the less obvious it will be to you that you don’t make sense during certain parts.
What if you can’t find an audience? In that case, just keep repeating your speech to yourself. Make sure that you do it out loud, even if you have to lock yourself in the bathroom with the shower running so that no one hears you. Being comfortable with the sound of your voice is critical to standing in front of an audience.
When the day arrives, spend a few minutes breathing deeply. Repeat some affirmations to yourself such as “I am a confident speaker,” or “The audience is interested in what I have to say.” By repeating positive phrases you will create a feeling of confidence and increase the likelihood of success.
Focus on the Topic
Once in front of the audience, take one last breath and begin. Remember that the audience wants to hear what you have to say, particularly if you are an invited guest.
They are not hoping that you embarrass yourself, but rather hoping for you to do well. Focus on the information that you want to impart to the group and notice how your anxiety slips away.
As you begin speaking, look at your listeners but do not focus on anyone in particular. Before you know it, your time will be up and you will have sailed through the speech with flying colors.
Practice really does make perfect, and in this case, practice gives you the confidence that you need as well to overcome public speaking anxiety.
How to Make a Public Speech Confidently
What most people do not know is that giving a public speech may be one of the easiest and simple tasks a person can perform and improve upon. With a little practice and a few guidelines, anyone can become better at making a public speech. At the very least, it is possible to overcome your fear of public speaking.
One of the most important things to remember while giving a public speech is to remain unwavering. Too many people let fear get the best of them. Relax, lean into your anxiety, and you will soon find that you are the public speaker that you always dreamed of becoming.
Another issue occurs when the speaker fumbles over his or her words or loses his or her train of thought. This completely overwhelms many people, which usually results in them becoming even more nervous than they were before. Often times, in an attempt to win the audience over again, the speaker will apologize.
This is a mistake when giving a public speech. You should never apologize. The audience probably did not even notice that you made a mistake. You do not want to bring attention to your mistakes by pointing them out and apologizing. If you do fumble when making a public speech, simply pause to regain your thoughts, take a deep breath, and go forward from there.
Another step to becoming successful at making a public speech is through practice and experience. The better that you know your material before a public speech, the more confident you will feel.
It is also very important during a formal speech to wear appropriate attire. Whether you are promoting an important idea for your business or you are simply giving a speech in front of your high school class, always look appropriate.
Perhaps the most important key to being a successful public speaker is to remain confident. Know that the audience is not against you. In fact, they are on your side! They want you to succeed.
With these little bits of advice and some practice, you will be on your way to being a fantastic public speaker in no time! Best of all, you will have conquered a fear that most Americans never overcome. That in itself is an accomplishment of which you can be proud.
How to Be a Better Public Speaker
The age-old advice to imagine your audience naked while giving a speech might alleviate anxiety, but it does not help you with how to be a better public speaker. It is not what your audience is wearing (or not wearing) that determines your speaking ability. To be a good public speaker you must reach the hearts and captivate the minds of your audience.
The more time that you take to study the keys to effective public speaking and put them into practice, the better able you will be to present your information in an effective way.
Perhaps someone has asked you to be a best man or maid of honor, maybe you are hosting an event, or maybe you need to present an oral thesis. Whatever the venue, you will feel more comfortable if you already know what your audience is experiencing.
How can you know this? You will want to rehearse before a full-length mirror. This way you can see what your audience sees. Does the audience see a poised, confident, and well-dressed speaker? To ensure that they do, practice not only speaking but practice your body language.
Do not do anything on stage that you have not practiced in private. You do not want your audience so engaged in how you look or what you are doing, that they are not paying attention to what you say. Nervous habits often fall into this category and can be easily identified and rectified using a full-length mirror.
- Videotape yourself. This should help to set you at ease. Much of a speaker’s anxiety comes from wondering how the audience views him. Therefore, if you become comfortable with your body language this will allay your fears and allow you to concentrate more on reaching your listeners’ hearts and minds.
- Whatever you say, be sure it is your words and your thoughts. Ensure that you are convinced of the benefits to your listener and that the topic is important to you. When you have confidence in your subject matter, your audience will benefit from what you have to say.
- Try to speak naturally as if you are having a one-on-one conversation. Choose someone in the audience whom you know or whose facial expressions show that she is engaged in what you are saying and speak directly to that person.
By implementing the above advice you should find that your confidence as a speaker increases. If extreme anxiety about public speaking becomes a problem, you may have an anxiety disorder that requires treatment. Otherwise, practice should lead to improvement; you just need to put in the time.
How to Give a Good Speech
Suppose you are not used to public speaking, and now an occasion has arisen when you need to know how to give a good speech. Perhaps you need to give the toast at a wedding reception, a brief presentation at work, some comments at a retirement dinner, a report in a class, or even a eulogy at a funeral.
Here are some tips that might help you do more than survive; here are tips on how to give a good speech.
Steps on How to Give a Good Speech
1. Find a Role Model
First, think about speakers and speeches that you have really liked. Speeches that you have heard or read, and truly appreciated, provide the models for you to imitate. Perhaps you really admire a speech from history or literature, such as the Gettysburg Address or Shakespeare’s Henry V before the Battle of Agincourt.
Perhaps there is a politician whose speeches you appreciate or a preacher you like. Maybe there is a person on television, serious or comic, that you like to hear talk. Allow what you like to shape what you will offer.
2. Gather Key Points
Second, brainstorm your important points. You might write them on a big piece of newsprint, draw a diagram, or use a diagram in your word processing program. Sometimes it is useful to put each thought on a 3 X 5 index card.
3. Organize Your Key Points
Next, put the thoughts in order. One way of organizing what you want to say is to envision a Christmas tree: You choose one central thought to emphasize, and then you pin smaller things to it like ornaments on a tree. Another method is to choose three main points, each with three sub-points. Finally, there is the circle method, where you begin and end in the same place, having traced a path in between.
4. Consider What You Wish to Express
Now you must find ways to express what you want to say. Here you must think a bit further: What do you want to accomplish, and what resources can you use to accomplish it? You may be seeking to inspire, entertain, instruct, provoke, persuade, caution, congratulate, or thank your audience. Do you want them to laugh or cry, or to laugh so hard that they cry? Knowing the impact that you want to have will help you know how to give a good speech.
5. Consider Your Resources
Last, consider your resources. The first group of resources is your familiarity with your topic. But that is probably not your most important resource. Your most important resource is what you know about your audience. Who are they, and who are they in relation to your topic?
Next, you have resources from shared and collective memory. A speech that epitomizes using resources from shared memories is Martin Luther King’s I have a Dream in which patriotic songs, scripture verses, historical documents, and commonly held images are woven into a verbal tapestry. Finally, you have yourself; all of your own stories, experiences, knowledge, and humor.
6. Practice Your Speech
Having created your speech, you must practice it both in your imagination and out loud. Make it part of you, and make yourself part of it. If you are using a script, make sure that you highlight it in ways that help you keep your place and recognize the emphases that you want to place. If you are using visuals, make sure that everything is set to work with them, especially if you have equipment to use.
7. Reduce Stage Fright
Check your nerves; reduce your stage fright by pushing on something stationery or pressing your own hands together to use up a little adrenaline. If your emotions are so highly charged that you are not sure that you can make it through your speech, find a person who will back you up. Knowing who you are going to look at to gather your strength, or who will take over if you really cannot finish can provide just the boost that you need to do a tremendously good job.