Conquering Public Speaking Anxiety
By Frederic Madore
Making a speech in front, whether the audience number a hundred or just ten, qualifies as one of man's greatest fears. This is why public speaking is one commodity that is quite rare right now for only a few manage to conquer the anxiety that accompany every speech.
But why do people fear public speaking so much? Psychologists believe that it is not actually public speaking that make people feel the anxiety but the ridicule and comments of people just in case they commit a mistake.
People who have public speaking anxiety do not have enough self-confidence in the way they speak. They believe that when they go in front and make a speech, they will blunder their way through it and suffer from the shame.
Public speaking anxiety can however be conquered with the right attitude and commitment. Here are some tips that can start you in your way towards a public-speaking-anxiety-free life.
Talk about what you know
Speaking on a subject that you are not familiar with can only lead to disaster. If you are considered an expert in a particular field, it would be easier for you to speak on that field. Anxiety only comes when you are not confident about your material and your ability to deliver that material.
Talking about something that you love and know will not only lessen the anxiety that you may feel will also make you appear passionate and enthusiastic about the project. So make sure that you only a public speaking topic that you feel you can handle or have a lot to say about the subject.
Practice makes perfect and it can get rid of the anxiety for you. Clich as that is, it is nevertheless true. When you practice, the opportunity for making a mistake lessens. This will make you feel more self-confident, knowing that you have prepared for the speech and that you have done your absolute best to present it.
In addition, constantly delivering your lines will make them seem automatic in your brain. The more automatic the speech is, the lesser the chance of having stage fright.
Nothing gives you more confidence than knowing that you know your material well and that you can answer any question thrown at you. Part of feeling the anxiety is the fear that you will not be able to say anything in front. Scenarios such as forgetting one's lines, choking at the middle of a speech or just plain not being able to answer the question in an open forum will probably be entering the mind. Anxiety results from these thoughts.
Study everything about the topic that you are going to talk about. Make sure that you have the right statistics and information.
Make the mirror your audience
Practicing in front of the mirror may seem stupid but it can be a great way to conquer your public speaking anxiety. Mirrors will reflect how you look and how your facial expressions look like when doing the speech. This will help you in schooling your features and in making your expressions appear confident and in control.
Do a dry run
If you can manage it, doing a dry run in the place where you are going to make your speech is a great way to get used to the idea of speaking in public. Knowing that you have already done it even in a dry run will help ease the discomfort and anxiety on stage. If practicing on stage is impossible, you can say your lines at home. If you are using power point presentations and other visuals, it is also good to do dry run using these visuals so that you can determine the timing involved for each.
You can also do a dry run in front of people you are close with. This will help ease the anxiety that you may be feeling about your public speaking engagement as you are already in a way able to speak in public even with your family and friends as the audience. In addition, they can also help you make the speech better by giving comments and suggestions. In fact, through their help, you can even improve on your presentation more.