Top Tips to Overcome Your Fear of Public Speaking
You may have been in the situation before where you have to speak in front of an audience or group of people. Your palms get sweaty, your stomach flips and you imagine all the possible negative situations that could occur.
Earlier this year, I had to take on the task of presenting a speech in front of around 30 people. I am a very shy person and the night before presenting I was absolutely terrified! I decided to research and see if there were any tips for public speaking. Here is a few that really boosted my confidence and reduced my nerves!
It may sound obvious, but keeping control of your breathing is an essential when it comes to controlling nerves. Breathe calmly, inhaling through your nose and exhaling through your mouth. Focusing on your breathing should keep you distracted and get you into a rhythm. Having control on breathing will also keep your speaking fluent and your sentences will flow.
Preparing the Day Before
Before you perform your speech to an audience, perform it to a friend or family member. You may be criticising your speaking too harshly, so having someone else listen will give you a chance to practise. They will be able to give you tips on how to improve and ask questions about your speech (which may be asked in your actual presentation).
Also make sure you know the speech roughly off by heart so that you are able to look at the audience and connect with them. Organise your thoughts and do not, do NOT, think of what will go wrong. That’s only going to make you more nervous, so stay positive and eliminate all negative thoughts!
Don’t Focus On the Audience
This may sound silly, as the audience are the ones you’re talking to, but just make sure you aren’t focusing only on the audiences reactions. You need to focus on how you deliver your speech and what you’re meant to be saying. If you mess up, don’t make a big deal out of it and freak out, as the audience have probably seen worse! If you see people yawing or not paying attention, it’s nothing to do with you, they may just be tired or not as interested in the subject as others.
And last but certainly not least…
After the speech is done, have pride in yourself for overcoming a fear and recognise that it can only get better from here! Note down things you could do to improve your next speech, so every time you do a speech you have a clear understanding of what you need to improve on.
And there you have it – my top tips on public speaking. So next time you have either a big meeting or small class presentation coming up, remember these tips and you will hopefully overcome your fear of public speaking!
“All the great speakers were bad speakers at first.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson