How To Overcome Public Speaking Anxiety

“It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed.”
Theodore Roosevelt

How does one manage the stress of public speaking-without a shot of tequila, that is? Or more importantly, what causes it? (note: I miss tequila.)

Lacking either general self-confidence or confidence in the subject matter at-hand can be the major contributors of the annoying anxiety that comes with public speaking. But the truth is, most people (though at various levels) experience some level of anxiety when speaking front of large audiences-no matter how confident or competent they are.

Which is why many of us end up terrified when in front of a big auditorium or group, saying to ourselves,

“What will they think of me”?

We become nervous, our hands get sweaty and clammy, and our heart races to a thousand beats a minute. And the truth is people are simply looking to hear what you have to say, they’re not there to intimidate you.

They are there to be informed.

Try the following next time you’re due for a public speaking event.

Practice, Practice, Practice

Even if you know your material, practicing your public speaking skills may teach you about the tone in which you speak, and how to master it while keeping the audience interest level at the maximum. Verbalizing your complete presentation in front of a mirror may help as well. Don’t wait until the last minute to perfect it. Get started on it as early as possible, adding its preparation into your daily schedule.

Know Your Material Like The Back Of Your Hand

Often, nervousness can trigger momentary forgetfulness, but you can counter this with a solid grasp of the flow of your slides and speaking points. Even if you don’t remember the exact verbiage, you can sum up the point of the slide. When all goes wrong, wing it!

Remember The Benefits

Instead of thinking about messing up or what’ll happen if you forget your material, you should focus on the effects of your great presentation and think ‘What will come after my great presentation?’. ‘How will this audience be better off after hearing what I have to say?’

Prepare For Q & A

Many people fear public speaking because of the questions afterwards (that dreaded Q&A), so preparing yourself for them can be a great method to be as confident as possible-and not get caught off-guard. Think of the information that you’re presenting and what logical questions may arise from an attendee standpoint. Come up with 5–10 questions and answers to prep for your Q&A sessions.

View It As A Conversation

Your presentation is not a performance, consider it a series of person-to-person conversations :). Think of your audience as people who’ve come to you individually seeking help for a problem, or answers to their concerns. This is your time to answer everyone at once-what a time-saver, right?

Fear of public speaking can be overcome like any other fear. The key is to tackle it head on with practice and planning. And like anything else in life, the more you do it, the better you’ll become.

Remember, you CAN do this!

Wait! Don’t go yet!!

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