7 Tips to Help you Overcome Your Fear of Public Speaking written by: vladbold
The fear of public speaking (scientifically known as glossophobia) affects a lot more people than initially thought. While fears like death, disease or unemployment are all natural and understandable, studies have shown that being afraid of speaking in public is also right there at the top. The consequences of messing up and important speech or presentation can vary from individual to individual, but the fear seems to be there in all of us. The question is clear, in this case: is there any way to overcome your fear of public speaking?
Not only is it possible, but several people have done it in the past. Here is a list of the most popular tips to overcome the fear of public speaking:
1. Practice the presentation beforehand.
This should go without saying, but lots of people believe that only reading your slide deck once or twice is enough. You should repeat your presentation, out loud, at least five times before you have to do it in front of an important audience – and preferably at spaced intervals so that the information will sink into your brain.
2. Practice the details as well.
After you know the bread and butter of your presentation, the key bullet points and how you’ll showcase them, it’s time to look into the details. How are you going to transition from one section to the other? Is the tone of the presentation professional enough? What are the most likely questions you expect to receive? Is the slide deck concise enough? Are you using enough graphs and images? Did you ask for feedback from colleagues? Do you know how you will dress on presentation day?
3. View your presentation as a multilateral conversation,
not a performance. Aim to engage your listeners and establish some valuable conversations with them. Try to include as many people from the audience as possible and reserve time for questions and answers. If you view your presentation as a conversation, it will ease up some of the pressure to perform well.
4. Don’t sustain eye contact for extended periods of time.
This might sound counter-intuitive. Yes, you should establish visual contact with your listeners, but don’t pause a lot on one person, because you’ll be very affected by his or her facial expressions. Skim through the room often to take the crow’s pulse.
5. Create high-quality material.
If the material you present is good, chances are your presentation will be the same. Remember that you might need to send the documents for investigation later, so make sure you spend enough time to draft good presentation aids.
6. Take 15 minutes before your presentation to calm down.
Even great public speakers like Barrack Obama need a few minutes before a big speech to calm their nerves down. Take a walk or meditate just before giving your presentation.
7. Don’t review last-minute. By all means,
do not alter anything in your presentation before going into the room. If possible, avoid looking at your material in the last hours before your presentation, to prevent panic.
These are just a few examples of practical advice which you can follow in order to get rid of your fear of public speaking. Of course, public speaking classes will also help, but at the end of the day, practice makes perfect – the more presentations you have under your belt, the easier public speaking will get. Some people recommend failing on purpose: after giving a horrible presentation and getting booed off stage, people realize that they can’t really sink any lower – thus becoming better public speakers.