It may be difficult to fathom but most people fear public speaking over death. Public speaking means speaking in front of large or small audiences and sometimes even a few people. Public speaking includes giving a formal presentation to your boss or even proposing a toast at a relatives wedding. Many people have this fear which in actual fact is anticipatory fear, which is usually overcome as soon as they stand at the podium. Most of the time, it is not the speaking that causes the fear but the anticipation of the speech that is causing the anxiety.
In order to understand how to overcome these fears, we need to first understand what the fears are about. The 3 major causes for fear are (1) fear of the audience (2) fear of giving a bad speech (3) fear of failure.
In order to overcome these 3 fears, there are many strategies one can utilize and here are some major ones to embrace and practice.
1. Embrace your subject – by getting exciting about the subject you are going to present or talk about, the excitement and energy n your voice with ooze and you will soon forget that you are scared. The excitement in your voice will also disguise the nervous shaking and quiver in your voice.
2. Embrace the audience – never fear people, after all they are like you. Get to know your audience by doing your homework. Find out what kind of people are coming, the age groups, the gender, and why they are there in attendance. Discover if the event if formal or casual. People are there for a reason and you may very well be the reason hence engage them in the topic you are excited abs out, and they will pick on your energy. Energy is transferred and positive energy and enthusiasm can be infectious.
3. Believe in yourself – if you are confident about your topic then you know you are the expert, and that is why you have been selected to speak on the topic. Believe in yourself and others will also believe in you. Never live in fear of what you know.
4. Release your nervous energy – on the day you are speaking, spend extra time doing some physical activity and release that nervous energy. Get relaxed, chill and if you are an adult, maybe have a nice glass of wine about 30 minutes prior (if your lecture is in the evening) to relax your nerves.
5. Practice makes perfect – remember, like anything we do requires practice, practice, practice, which is the key to success. Stand in front of a mirror at home and practice your speech, rehearse your actions and even possibly record yourself and watch the clip. You will be able to perfect the things that we do by habit, such as play with our hands, hair or even pacing up and down.
The bottom line is channel your nervous energy to work to your advantage.