You’re certainly not alone if the thought of speaking in public makes you break into a cold sweat. A fear of public speaking is easily one of the most common phobias that you’re likely to come across.
We guess it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that the fear of public speaking might be more common than even the fear of death. Taking to the stage can be a daunting experience but the fact is that we must overcome this fear and for this, we may have to brush up on our public speaking skills.
Whether it’s in the boardroom or on stage, it is crucial to have the ability to give a good presentation. More often than not our public skills prove to be more useful to us at job than even our technical skills.
These 7 ways, we think, are the simplest things that you can do to overcome the fear of public speaking:
This may sound like an obvious piece of advice but considering an extempore speech can rarely help a person in getting over their fear of public speaking.
You shouldn’t wait till you get on stage to put things together. You should take some time to know your audience and prepare your notes before the big day arrives.
Steve Jobs was known across the industry for his legendary presentations and it is said that he would spend days rehearsing his speech and getting feedback. If possible write what you intend to say on the stage, read your notes and practice it well before the day arrives.
Understand your Fears
It may be important for you to realise your fears and understand the biology behind them. It is normal for you to feel anxious when there are so many eyes looking at you.
Instead of going with the fear you should remind yourself that those are not the eyes of predators and the fact that they are all looking at you doesn’t symbolise that you are in trouble. They are just a group of people who are there to learn something from you.
Before your presentation is due you must loosen up. It is a nice idea to go out with friends, listen to some music that calms down your nerves or watch something funny like a stand-up.
You must do whatever helps you relax and rev up for your presentation. It has been proven in several studies that listening to music has a profound physiological effect on us. Also, listening to high-energy tunes can motivate you and get you psyched up.
The presenter doesn’t have to show to the crowd that he is some type of superhuman in order to be taken seriously. In fact, if they show their humanness they may be able to connect better. Being real, telling personal stories and letting the audience know your emotions can make them relate with you.
Tell a Joke
Adding humour to your talk can help you to engage better with the audience and lighten the general mood. This doesn’t mean that the entire speech must be a comedy routine but there can be a few light-hearted jokes in between.
Keeping it Light
A surefire way to get your audience bored and lose them is to bombard them with infinite wisdom. You may have a tremendous wealth of knowledge to share but keeping things short and sweet may serve you better. A good way to make the session more fun for them and also for you would be to make use of anecdotes, examples and easily digestible tidbits.
Take a Pause
When on stage you should do things that calm down your nerves such as taking deep breaths. You can take a pause after you have made a point. People who pause for a few seconds are able to show to the audience that they are confident and are not among those to rush through their material.
Practising the above techniques should help you to overcome the fear of public speaking. And once you’ve finally accomplished what you see as the impossible, treat yourself to a fun day out.