How to Overcome Your Fear of Public Speaking and Rise Through the Ranks in Your Organization
Do you feel that fear inevitably keeps you from speaking confidently in public? If leadership training courses are anything to go by, it seems that you are not alone. You won’t need to overcome this fear, because it will never go away entirely. Instead, you’ll have to learn to deal with the fear and act in spite of it. You’ll probably never be fearless, but you will be able to fear a lot less.
The fear of public speaking is a lot more debilitating than the fear of death. And it can seriously hurt your personal and professional lives. It can keep you from getting your point of view across and command the audience’s attention. You feel nervous, and just don’t want to speak anymore. But in business, there is no running away from public speaking. Whether addressing clients, or giving a formal presentation to your bosses, speaking skills and confidence will get you ahead in professional settings.
The good news is that there are tried-and-proven techniques that can help you conquer your fears.
Good Speakers Aren’t Born That Way
You don’t need to have a certain kind of DNA to have good public speaking skills. As long as you are completely dedicated to improving your presentation skills, and willing to put in the hours of practice, you can become a good public speaker.
Leadership classes often recommend that you stand in front of a mirror to deliver your speech. Look at yourself, observe your own expressions and mannerisms, identify the potential issues and fix them. Figure out where you stutter, and what gets you all red in the face. Listen to your speed, the fluctuations in your voice and the pace of speaking. Do it a few times to get comfortable with the idea of being watched as you speak. This is perhaps the most effective method of building confidence.
Thoroughly Research the Topic
Make sure you know the subject matter better than everyone else in the room. Preparing for the presentation, and knowing that you are delivering the right information, will make you feel more confident. Preparation is key. Show-up with a visually appealing presentation, use infographics to guide the audience and keep them engaged, find the answers to any possible questions that may arise after your presentation, and become an expert at the subject. Not only will you be more comfortable talking to the crowd, but they’ll respect you all the more for the authority you show.
Be Like Water… Keep Moving
When we are nervous, our bodies produce more adrenaline than usual. This anxious energy can take over and make us fumble in the middle of the speech. So instead of trying to contain all this energy, why not spend it?
Get out from behind the podium, walk around on the stage, get personal with your audience and engage with them. Incorporate subtle hand gestures in your demeanor, these will add emphasis to the important points and help you burn off some of that excess energy.
Ensure Good Posture Throughout Your Speech
Stand up straight, pull back your shoulders, straighten that spine, breathe. Now keep it that way throughout your speech or presentation. This stance will make it easier for you to breathe effortlessly and make you look quite confident.
If you tend to freeze up on the stage, then do this simple leadership training exercise before you go on: stand straight, and shake your shoulders, and take some slow deep breaths before you go in. This will help you relax and keep perspective from the very start of the presentation.
Develop A Positive Mindset
If all you focus on is things that could go wrong, you are actually employing the power of manifestation to bring all of that into your life. Instead, train your brain to envision the success, believe that your audience will love all that you have to tell them, imagine a standing ovation as people congratulate you on a successful presentation. It is important to remember that your fear and discomfort will not last forever. Focus on that fact and you’ll be able to endure through.
Try to Have Fun
Public speaking isn’t acting, so don’t pretend to have a good time. People will see right through it. As a speaker, you should work on developing an interesting and engaging style that keeps your audience attentive. Research the speaking styles of your favorite speakers and try to adapt to things that appeal to you.
When you are passionate about the topic, you will be excited to talk about it. And this enthusiasm can be so contagious. When you love speaking about something, the audience will automatically love hearing you talk about it.
The Last Word: Fake It till You Make It!
We all dream of confidently gliding on to the stage and give an impassioned speech, a successful presentation. Wouldn’t it be nice to deliver a joke that’s just right, i.e. not too offensive and funny for all the right audience? Our stories would captivate the audience and compel them to ask the right questions, and we’d have the answers ready. And finally, we would exit to applause, cheers, quite possibly a standing ovation as well.
Some dreams are worth dreaming.
But until they come true, we need to continue practicing and rehearsing the perfect public speaking session.
Stop monitoring your performance as you are giving it, or else you will inevitably end up choking on your words. Rehearse all you want before the event, but once you face the audience just let the beast loose and get on with it. Invest in leadership classes that can help you practice public speaking. Be realistic about your fears and don’t make them any larger than they already are. And there is no reason why you won’t be able to ace the next public speaking engagement. Go into it prepared, practiced and rehearsed and we promise you’ll dazzle your bosses and colleagues with your speaking skills.