Public speaking is one of the most common fears shared by many people. It can be for various reasons including feeling nervous about revealing yourself on stage, the fear of being ridiculed upon making mistakes, or simply not having the confidence to get up and talk in front of a room full of strangers. To help, here are 8 ways on how to overcome the fear of public speaking.
1.Know your topic
In order to overcome your fear of public speaking, you need to know the topic. Knowing what you're talking about will make you feel more confident about what you're saying. When we're not familiar with a topic, we can feel like our words are just flying out of our mouths without any meaning behind them. But if you know the ins and outs of your subject matter—and are able to explain it clearly—then your confidence will be higher, which will make it easier for you to speak confidently and clearly.
More importantly, knowing your topic will also allow you to anticipate questions from listeners so that they don't catch you off guard when they ask something unexpected. This way, if there's an unexpected question or comment from someone in the audience who seems confused by what you've said, then instead of panicking or getting flustered yourself, feeling embarrassed or ashamed because someone else doesn't understand what was said clearly enough for them, you can confidently answer their questions.
2. Practice then practice more
You need to train your mind to be confident and comfortable in any situation. The more you practice, the better you'll become at public speaking. It's as simple as that. The more time you spend practicing and honing your skills, the less nervous you'll be when it comes time to speak in front of an audience.
You can do this by practicing in front of the mirror. You may have heard this tip before, but it's worth repeating because it works. Practicing in front of the mirror allows you to see what you look like while speaking, which gives you a chance to adjust your body language and facial expressions so they're more natural-looking and believable.
For example, if you tend to smile when you speak but don't do it on purpose, practicing in front of the mirror will help you see that so that you can correct it later on during real speeches. Another way to practice is by recording yourself while giving speeches or presentations. Then listen back and evaluate how well things went afterward. By listening back to these recordings, you'll discover areas where your delivery needs improvement as well as ways for improving speech tone and cadence (the rhythm at which words are spoken).
3. Get organized
One of the biggest reasons people get nervous about public speaking is because they're not sure what they should say. They're afraid they'll forget something important or flub up their delivery in front of everyone. They also worry about forgetting how to pronounce certain words or stumbling over them in their speech.
However, if you have a well-crafted speaking outline or flowchart, you won't have any trouble remembering what comes next in your presentation. The reason is because it turns out that being organized can be an effective remedy for this common fear.
The first thing to do is to make sure that you have all the materials needed for your presentation, such as notes and slides or handouts and how much time you need to present. You should also make sure that they are easy to read or look at when you present them to the audience. This way, if you know exactly where each slide is going to be located on your screen and how much time each slide will take up, there's no reason why you should ever feel lost while delivering a speech again!
4. Do some breathing
When you're nervous, your breathing becomes shallow and rapid, which can make you feel light-headed and dizzy. Breathing exercises can help you control this reaction by slowing your breathing and moving air into your diaphragm — the large, dome-shaped muscle just below your lungs. This helps oxygen reach your brain more efficiently, which can reduce anxiety and improve concentration.
To practice diaphragmatic breathing, lie down on your back with one hand on your chest and the other on your belly. Breathe in slowly through your nose while contracting your lower stomach muscles as if you were trying to hold something in. As you breathe out, relax those muscles as much as possible so that all of the air comes out from them rather than through pursed lips. Repeat for five minutes or longer before your presentation starts.
So that, your whole body will be ready and your mind will be clear that will result in a successful presentation.
5. Dress comfortably
When you feel comfortable in what you wear, your body language will naturally reflect this choice. It shows that you are confident and at ease with yourself and your surroundings, which is exactly what you want your audience to see.
In fact, if you wear clothing that makes you feel uncomfortable or self-conscious, then your discomfort will likely show in your body language which will make it hard for anyone to focus on what you are saying or listening to what you have to say.
The key thing here is that when you feel comfortable in what you wear and how it fits, it will help keep your mind focused on the task at hand instead of getting distracted by how uncomfortable or self-conscious you feel about yourself.
6. Visual your success
Visualization helps you develop muscle memory. When you imagine yourself as a confident speaker, it's like practicing for a basketball player or pianist. You're rehearsing the movements and thoughts that will be necessary when you deliver your speech in real life.
This also allows you to mentally rehearse what it feels like to be in front of an audience. This will reduce the stress and anxiety that might otherwise come with presenting your ideas to strangers. It gives you an opportunity to see yourself succeed before it happens — which makes it easier when things actually go wrong (which they inevitably will).
More importantly, visualization can help build confidence. By picturing yourself as someone who speaks well, even if only in your mind, it becomes easier to believe that this is who you really are. Even if there are still nerves present when it comes time to deliver your speech, those feelings won't take over because they're no longer new.
7. Focus on your material, not on your people
It's called “material-based delivery.” Material-based delivery focuses on the content of your message instead of how you deliver it. This means that instead of worrying about how you look or how you sound, you can focus on making sure your material is engaging, informative, and valuable.
It seems strange that this would help people overcome their fear of public speaking—but the truth is that it does! When you're focused on making sure your audience gets value from what you're saying and doing, you don't have time to worry about whether they're going to judge you or think less of you because they're seeing your face or hearing your voice. You just want them to understand what you're saying so they can apply it and improve their lives!
If you can get support from others, it can help you overcome this fear. When people are supportive, they'll be there for you and cheer you on when things get tough—and that can make all the difference in helping you feel more confident about your speech.
And don't underestimate how helpful it is to have someone else there for moral support when you're nervous about public speaking. Having someone close by who understands what you're going through can be really comforting and allow you to relax and focus on what really matters: your message!
As you can see, there are many ways to overcome your fear of public speaking, and plenty of strategies to try as well. You have the tools, resources and knowledge to learn how to deliver presentations effectively, which is half the battle in many ways. All that's really left is putting in a little effort and practice – with enough time, you will be able to take the stage with confidence.
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