Public speaking is an art which does not come naturally to most people. For some people, the prospect of making a speech before any group of people can be daunting. Most of the time, anxiety kicks in and some people may even undergo a mental breakdown. The good news, however, is that if you fall under the category of people who fear public speaking, you can improve your skill and feel more confident speaking in public. Here are some tips on how to overcome the fear of public speaking.
Take small steps
If you have never spoken in public before, you should consider taking small steps towards building your courage and confidence. Starting small is one of the best ways of getting yourself acquainted with the world of public speaking. You could start by speaking at a family gathering, before a small group of friends or even with your siblings. Most renowned public speakers started with smaller audiences before building up the courage to address bigger crowds.
Prepare your speech ahead of time
What most people do not know is that pre-speaking fear is normal. Once you start speaking, your anxiety will go away. However, if you do not know your topic well, you might end up panicking and messing up your speech. One of the best ways of ensuring that this does not happen is by working on your speech ahead of time.
Knowing your speech’s content will make your more relaxed. In fact, studies have shown that it is easier to speak on a topic you are conversant with as opposed to one you have no interest or knowledge in. Apart from writing your speech beforehand, it is also recommended that you practice reading it out a couple of times. You could even read it out to your friends and family before the actual presentation.
Avoid memorizing words
One of the mistakes many people make when speaking in public is memorizing the content of their speech word for word. It is advisable to understand your content thoroughly, instead of cramming it. When you remember your key points and sub-topics, it will be easier to organize your speech accordingly. It is also advisable that you internalize your introduction and conclusion.
Avoid PowerPoint presentations
Some public speeches you will be called upon to make will include the use of PowerPoint presentations. The mistake which you are likely to make is introducing too many bullets and words in your slides. Instead of bullet points, use visuals, which are catchier. If you make your slides the focal point of your presentation, you may end up with a boring presentation altogether.
Maintain eye contact
It may seem ridiculous to suggest that you maintain eye contact with your audience when you are anxious and scared of your presentation. However, this can be easily achieved. People will be more receptive of your speech if you engage them. One of the ways of doing this is by focusing on a person in the crowd, preferably a friend.
One of the best ways of managing stress on the D-day is to do breathing exercises. These exercises are effective in reducing your stress levels. All you have to do is take a deep breath and exhale. This tactic has been used by athletes to build confidence since time immemorial.
Pull in your audience
It is one thing to do a monologue and another to rope in your audience. One of the best ways on how to overcome the fear of public speaking is by engaging your audience. This way, you will reduce stress on your end while making your speech entertaining. The easiest ways of engaging any audience is by asking them questions or using them as props. A participating audience is livelier and less boring.
Join a class
While public speaking is an art that you can master on your own over time, you can enhance your speaking skills by joining a class. There are so many online classes and seminars which may be of help to you. The good news is that you will also be interacting with other people who have the fear of public speaking and would like to overcome it.
Your teacher and fellow students can also act as your source of motivation and support. Once you get positive feedback and criticism, you should endeavor to incorporate these in your next speech.
Practice makes perfect
Being able to speak in front of crowds without fear is not an easy thing to do. It is important to practice and learn the skill over and over again. One of the ways of staying at the top of your game is by practicing. Taking any opportunity to speak as a leaning experience is very crucial. If you can, volunteer to speak at events, weddings, family gatherings or even in class. You can also practice in front of a mirror or record yourself as many times as you can before the D-day.
Get a mentor who is good at public speaking
There are many good public speakers out there who would be more than wiling to hep you master the art of public speaking. All you have to do is get yourself a mentor and you are good to go. Your mentor can go over your speech and give you useful pointers before you present it. He or she may also be able to give you comments on your progress after each speech. After a while, you will have gotten a hang of it.
Overcoming the fear of public speaking is not easy. However, there are many resources out there to help anyone who would like to change this. With these useful tips on how to overcome the fear of public speaking, you should be able to give your next speech a good try. You do not have to wait for someone to ask you to speak. Go in search of speaking opportunity yourself! Before you know it, you will be a master public speaker yourself!
To your public speaking success,
Overcome the Feat of Public Speaking