Have you ever wondered why the fear of public speaking is not reflected in speeches of Imran Khan and Justin Trudeau and many other famous politicians on the planet? Being in the spotlight is never easy for a politician, especially when you are standing in front of an audience like UN General Assembly. While some people are social butterflies and love the attention and the talking, most of us are frightened by it.
This fear of public speaking is known as glossophobia, and it is estimated that almost 75% of the population is afraid of public speaking. Standing in front of a crowd and getting your point across can be hard, but it is an essential skill that you must learn to get ahead in life.
So let’s dive in and discuss 8 tips that can help you overcome your fear of public speaking
Practice makes perfect
If you are one of those people who feel like they’re going to faint before a presentation, winging the presentation might not be the best strategy. Practicing at least three to four times in front of a mirror or your close friends can help reduce your fear of public speaking.
Write down all the points you need to discuss during your presentation. Thoroughly research the topic. Prepare extra material so that if you forget something, you have other information to replace it.
The more you’re prepared, the better are your chances of impressing the audience.
Focus on your breathing
Breathing is one of the most important things to focus on when you’re presenting. To speak smoothly throughout your presentation, it’s important to regulate your breathing so that you don’t run out of breath mid-way through a sentence.
If at any point you feel like you’re running out of breath, don’t hesitate to pause for a few seconds. Once you regain your breath, continue with your presentation. This pause not only gives you time to breathe but can also help you recollect your thoughts before you go on further.
Maintain eye contact
Establishing a connection with your audience is part of being a good public speaker. If you don’t engage or interact with your audience, they’ll lose interest and all your hard work will be wasted. The best way to form a connection is by maintaining eye contact.
When you’re scared of public speaking, maintaining eye contact with the audience can be really challenging. However, successful eye contact improves confidence and helps calm your nerves during the presentation.
Start small. Try and maintain eye contact with 2-3 people during your first attempt. Gradually increase the number and soon you’ll have no problem in engaging the audience.
Don’t rush it
Have you ever wondered how easy it is to zone out during a lecture? That’s how easy it is to lose the attention of a crowd. It is your responsibility to maintain the focus of the audience. If you speak too fast or rush to the end, it will be impossible for you to put your point across.
Instead, take your time while giving a presentation. Try to take a small pause after every sentence, which can help the audience in absorbing the information you just presented. However, try not to be too slow because the audience will snooze off by the time you get to your point.
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Ask for feedback
The best way to continuously improve your skills and overcome your fear of public speaking is through feedback. Written feedback is a much better option because nobody will tell you the truth to your face.
It is much better to ask your close family and friends about some key areas of improvement before asking the audience. Honest, real and constructive feedback can really help you improve and refine your public speaking skills.
People will always have something negative to say and you can’t make everyone happy. That’s just how the world works. Overthinking about small things will only make you more nervous.
Don’t expect everything to turn out perfectly. If it does, good for you! But if it doesn’t, try not to stress out. You’ve probably faced much worse things than presenting in front of people. I know it’s really hard to believe when you’re terrified of presenting, but you won’t die and you can handle it!
Believe in yourself
If you don’t believe in yourself, who’ll believe in you? I know it sounds cheesy, but it’s the truth. Trust your gut and go with the flow. At the end of the day, nobody will remember that you forgot your line for a second. None of the things that seem disastrous are actually disasters when it comes to presenting.
Believe in your abilities and you’ll do just fine. If something goes wrong, try to improve it the next time. Don’t beat yourself up for things you can’t change and instead focus on the things you can improve in the future.
Learn from your mistakes
If you’re thinking that you won’t make any mistakes during your presentation, you’re kidding yourself. Mistakes happen. Instead of stressing over them, it’s better to take notes and learn from them and avoid making the same mistakes in the future.
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The fear of public speaking can get to the best of us. Did you know that people are more afraid of public speaking than of dying? World-renowned speakers were once afraid of public speaking. Even the most skilled and experienced public speakers still get the jitters before any big presentations.
Remember that being nervous is normal. The best way to overcome your fear of public speaking is by facing it. I know it sounds terrifying, but I promise, the more you’ll do it, the better you’ll get at it.