Does the thought of speaking in front of a group create fear, make you sweat, and get your heart pounding? You have a fear of public speaking! In this article, I’ll share some tips on how to overcome fear of public speaking.
Fear of speaking in front of people is a common form of anxiety. Experts and entrepreneurs with this fear go out of their way to avoid getting invited to speak. Or sometimes, they suffer through them with shaking hands and a quavering voice.
But with preparation, practice, and persistence, you can overcome your fear of public speaking.
You may have been there before. You feel nervous, your palms sweat, your stomach ties itself into knots. You don’t want to do it. But you can overcome this fear with these simple public speaking tips!
Tip #1: Prepare Thoroughly
Nothing helps overcome the fear of public speaking more than knowing your material. The ability to connect with your audience comes from having the confidence so you won’t get lost during your delivery.
Rehearse several times before the big talk to overcome your fear of speaking in front. Time your presentation and always have back up material in case time is left over. Doing this will definitely help you to overcome your fear of public speaking.
Steve Jobs is one of the best presenters of all time. In fact, he was dubbed as the World’s Best Corporate Storyteller. Whenever he unveils a new product, people get excited about it. And he gets Apple fans excited.
His secret? Massive preparation. He gets help from experts to prepare his materials. He practices hundreds of times until he doesn’t make a mistake. He was a perfectionist. And that’s why he was effective.
You don’t have to be as obsessed as Steve Jobs. However, if you want to overcome the fear of public speaking, then you need to prepare thoroughly.
Ahead of time, carefully plan out the information you want to present, including any props, audio or visual aids. The more organized you are, the less nervous you’ll be. This article from INC will give you ideas on how to start preparing for your talk.
Tip #2: Engage the Audience
Engaging the audience is another way to lessen your fear of speaking in public. Don’t create a monologue presentation that puts the entire task of informing and entertaining the audience on you.
Make your talk a two-way interaction with questions and participation. It will reduce boredom and allow you to speak with ease. It’s one of my secrets on how to overcome fear of public speaking.
I can also suggest having ice breakers or activities to catch your audience’s attention. Having the group involved also gives you time to reorganize your thoughts if things are going off track.
Tip #3: Practice, And Then Practice Some More
Practice your complete presentation several times. Do it for some people you’re comfortable with and ask for feedback. Practicing in front of people you know will prepare you to engage people you’re not familiar with.
Consider making a video of your presentation so you can watch it and see opportunities for improvement. Practice makes perfect so it will definitely help you overcome your fear of public speaking.
Here’s a video on how to practice your speech or presentation:
Tip #4: Be Authentic And Vulnerable
It’s tempting to think that confidence means preventing anything from getting to us. But the truth is, our authenticity and vulnerability can be our greatest strength. It will allow us to overcome our fear of speaking in public.
The way to connect with an audience is by being human. That means having flaws and making mistakes. It means allowing your audience to get to know you. You can’t connect with them if you’re too perfect and robotic.
Remember, your audience isn’t there just for the information you have to share. They are there to learn something from you. To connect with you and make new connections with other people.
If you have the chance to make them see the real you, then show it. It’s the thing that will make the biggest difference in your speaking career.
Tip #5: Get Comfortable With The Venue
It is usually best to get to the venue of the event early to ease your nervousness. It will allow you to get comfortable with the venue and interact with your early audiences.
Get to know the layout of the room. Know where the podium is (if there is one), where the multimedia team is, and how to operate tools you’ll use. You can gain confidence if you’re familiar with the things around.
Do a quick set-up and test of your presentations and check if all the PowerPoint or Keynote slides are good to go. Get to know the spots where you can interact most with your audience.
Greet and talk to some of the participants who may arrive early. That way when you are presenting you can look around and see the “allies” that you had interacted with earlier. Not only does it improve your comfort level, it also helps you overcome your fear of public speaking.
Bonus Tip: Get In The Mood
Listen to music that gets you in a good mood and helps you to relax and overcome your fear before speaking publicly. It could be soft soothing music or loud music with mega-beats. Whatever works for you.
Breathing in deeply and then exhaling helps to overcome your fear and nervousness in speaking to the public. It allows you to focus on the breathing process and you stop focusing on your fear or anxiety.
Final Thoughts On How To Overcome Fear Of Public Speaking
If you can’t overcome your fear with practice alone, consider seeking professional help.
Nervousness or anxiety in certain situations is normal, and public speaking is no exception. But it will really empower you if you’ll learn to overcome it.
If you’re a serious business person, it’s normal to be invited to speak in public. Whether you’re giving a formal presentation or giving your thoughts in a meeting, public speaking is an essential skill to have. And learning how to overcome fear of public speaking will give you a lot of edge in business.