Fear is defined as “an unpleasant often strong emotion caused by anticipation or awareness of danger”, according to Merriam-Webster. Of course, this natural reaction protects humans from impending peril or risk. However, it is common for many to have anxiety over situations which do not necessarily pose a lethal threat, such as public speaking. If you find yourself hindered by the notion of public speaking, breath, it’s okay; you are not alone. While the idea of getting up and speaking to an audience brings about a gasp or grimace from the majority, there are those who make it their life’s work. Utilizing expert tips from health professionals and motivational speakers can help you overcome this fear and foster your ability to speak in public.
Understandably, the words relax, and public speaking are difficult to hear in the same sentence, but it’s true, practicing a variety of relaxation techniques when confronted with a fearful situation will decrease the physiological activity your body was designed to produce automatically. One calming process that can be useful is to find a quiet area and concentrate on your breathing until you feel relaxed. This will help you refocus on the situation at hand.
Change Your Perspective
Take a look at what you are basing your fear of public speaking on. Have you had an embarrassing moment while speaking in public? Is it that you have never attempted public speaking and you are worried about the unknown? One of the best methods for finding out what is truly at the core of your anxiety is to perform some self-reflection. Take note of any unpleasant experiences, you have associated with public speaking. Challenging yourself by discovering your fears and addressing them can be an effective method for alleviating the anxiousness and changing your perspective related to uncomfortable circumstances.
Prepare Your Words
One tip to help with overcoming the fear of public speaking is to prepare thoroughly. Believing you have the capacity to take on whatever is front of you is in your control. Your ability to be an effective public speaker is in how well you are prepared. Even professional speakers prepare before speaking, some take notes on stage with them or read from a teleprompter. Never underestimate the power of preparing, as it will provide you the opportunity to finetune your speech and enhance your confidence going forward.
Practice Your Speech
After preparing for your public speech, it is time to practice, practice, practice. Stand in front of a mirror and be watchful of your body language, hand gestures, eye contact, as all of these are indicators of how comfortable or uncomfortable you may be while speaking in public. Consider this step as an exercise in honing a craft. It is very seldom one can take to a task and perfect it without having some experience with it. Understand, that even if your first experience with the said undertaking is not as successful as you had hoped that doesn’t mean you can’t practice and eventually conquer the job.
Start With a Small Audience
Along with preparing and practicing your speech, you may find it useful to take your speech to a small audience before going before a larger one. Gather family, friends, or coworkers to get their feedback on your inflection, speed, appearance, and how engaging you are. Take any critique and re-evaluate those specific areas if needed. This small group setting offers the experience of public speaking but on a scale that allows you a higher comfort level to be yourself. Although public speaking may be one of your greatest fears, there is no reason you cannot take that anxiety and turn it into a positive. Make public speaking a challenge from which you will learn lessons and grow. You may find that this experience will lead you down the path to conquering other fears you once thought were insurmountable.