Have you ever stood in front of a crowd, shaking in terror, breaking out in a cold sweat, and barely able to get a word out? I have.
No, you are not getting tried for murder nor berated in front of your college class. Instead, you are trying to speak to very sympathetic and interested listeners in a large but casual group setting about a topic for which you have a great passion. You have stage fright.
I know how you feel. I know your pain. In fact, I have been there myself. Would you like to know how you can overcome your fear of public speaking so that you can comfortably address a group of people in both a casual and a formal setting? Then read on.
Always be prepared
Here are three excellent ways to always be prepared for both scheduled and impromptu public speaking:
Know the subject
This should be easy for you. After all, you are most likely not going to take a public speaking assignment unless you are passionate about your subject – it might even be your life’s work. You are also probably not going to be asked to explain something to a group of people in a casual setting if you do not supposedly already know a lot about the subject.
However, it is a good idea to constantly be keeping up to date on your chosen field. It will ease your nervousness when you are called upon.
If you know that you are going to have to speak in public, whether it is a speech that you have been asked to give, or you are going to a gathering where you know you might be asked about your passion, then keep a few important points in your mind. These three points should pertain to the subject of your passion. That way you can always have a readily available knowledge base to draw upon, even under pressure and stress.
If you think that you are not preparing well and your productivity is low, you can read tips how to increase productivity here.
Create an elevator speech
An elevator speech is, essentially, a 30 second speech (something that you can give in the time an elevator takes to travel just a few floors) that describes your purpose, your mission, or the essence of your passion. Having an elevator speech that you can draw on will let you overcome your initial fear of public speaking if you are called upon to speak in a casual setting.
For, while giving your elevator speech, you can think about what to say next.You can read more at website if you would like to learn how to create your own elevator speech.
Haste makes waste
Do not hurry through your speech. It might appear that if you hurry, you can be finished with your speech faster and escape your fears more quickly.
However, what are you really afraid of when you speak in public? Most likely, the two things that make you the most afraid of public speaking are:
- The fear that your audience will laugh at you and think you are a fool
- The fear that you will stumble over yourself and your words and not be able to get a word out.
If you hurry, you will lose your audience’s attention for sure. They will sense your fear and nervousness, feel pity for you, and not pay attention to what you are actually saying.
Also, if you hurry, you will be much more likely to stumble over your words and make mistakes. So, please do not hurry. You will make your fears come true.
Connect with your audience
Most people who have a fear of public speaking absolutely refuse to connect with their audience. Of course they do not consciously refuse to connect. They just do not know how to connect.
It turns out, though, that if you connect with your audience you will see them smile. They will pay attention to what you are saying. In fact, they will even laugh when you want them to laugh, cry when you want them to cry, and applaud when they should applaud. Connecting with your audience will let you see just how well your speech is going, making you feel more confident and making your fear fly away.
So, let’s look at a couple ways you can improve your connection with your audience:
- Look at your audience. This is the most fundamental – the simplest – way that you can engage your audience.
You do not have to try to catch anyone’s eye. In fact, you do not even have to look at anyone’s eyes. Instead, you just need to look in the direction of certain sections of people. Of course, this strategy does not work in a casual setting.
However, if you are in a formal setting, this strategy will help keep your audience engaged. Surprisingly, it will also help calm your fear of public speaking by allowing you to see the pleasure and other emotional responses on your audience’s faces.
- Tell personal stories. People connect with other people.
Stories resonate with people’s subconscious. People are intrigued by stories.
Also, stories, if they are personal, are easy for you to remember and relatively easy for you to tell. After all, isn’t it much easier to tell a personal story about how healthy eating improves all areas of a person’s life instead of trying to remember scientific facts and make your point with those facts?
Of course, the best way to overcome your fear of public speaking, you actually have to get out and speak! Start small. And just do it!
Yohana Petrovic is a writer and blogger. She has 10 years` experience in educating and now she is a proofreader at http://globalessays.org/ . You can reach her on Facebook: Yohana Petrovic or on Twitter: @YohanaPetrovic
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