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How to overcome the fear of public speaking - Ten tips to face the fear of Public speaking
Fear of public speaking
Among all the fears that people face, research shows that the Fear of public speaking or glossophobia tops the list, followed by the fear of death. incredible as it seems, it is true. Like any other fear, it is incapacitating in nature and many of us are seeking ways to overcome the fear of public speaking.
A shy or timid nature, the lack of adequate social skills, insecurity, being a perfectionist, fear of embarrassment, fear of an intimidating audience, or just plain old negative thinking are some of the reasons people have fear of public speaking. What ever may be the cause, to overcome the fear of public speaking an individual just has to decide and act on it and it would soon be a thing of the past. I know most people do not believe what I say. I just want to share with you my own tryst with this fear and how I handled it.
How to overcome the fear of public speaking when you have a long history?
My fear of public speaking has a long history, I just ran away from stage at the age of four and it haunted me for a good thirty years. Every time I thought of the mike, the podium, the audience and their glaring stares I would shudder internally. I would write speeches for my friends and they would go ahead and win trophies with the speeches that I wrote. All their motivation could not get me up on that stage, I could never overcome the fear of public speaking. I thought I was doomed to take it with me to the grave. Surprisingly, however, I did overcome my fear, today I can stand in front of people and speak without them knowing that once I was so afraid of what I am doing very comfortably now.
Ten tips to overcome the fear of public speaking
Get prepared - Over the years I had actually prepared for my success, (without my knowledge) by getting involved in many activities that require you to talk or teach to a small audience. I taught a bunch of kids in the local church for a year and was pretty comfortable with higher age groups after a period of time. Later I was invited to teach young men on subjects that I am passionate about, this meant that, I also had exposure from time to time to address their parents and older adults involved with this work. I had another great opportunity of teaching a bunch of university students for a month (leave vacancy), I replaced my lecturer in college who had fallen ill. I had not thought of this a preparation, but this is what gives me the confidence today. Start small, speak to small groups, and widen the horizons as you grow.
Your speeches should be your passion - I noticed that even though I was afraid of speaking to bigger or well educated audiences, during the course of the speech I was so involved with the topic that I forgot myself. Let your passion drive you- not your fear.
Change your thinking - You need not be the most knowledgeable or perfect speaker to start public speaking. The most knowledgeable are not the most engaging public speakers. I am sure you remember from your school or your college days that the most intelligent was not always the best teacher, but it was the ones who made simple things most interesting. They were the ones you cared to listen to.The ones who had a sense of humor and could laugh at themselves were the best speakers. Humor and humility endear the speaker to the audience, they are able to identify with the speaker and his/her circumstances.
Tips to overcome the fear of public speaking now
Face your Fears - The only way to overcome fear is to face fear. I was at a college where a teacher of mine was giving a speech, and halfway through his speech, he announced that, I would continue the talk as some emergency had come up and left the place. I had no time to think or prepare or refuse and I was thrown into the situation. I was pale, shaking badly and words refused to come out from my mouth. I had followed the speech of the main speaker with much interest, made points, so I just looked at my notes and I stared off. Forty five minutes later, I sat down to a good applause. To this day I cannot remember what I spoke, but I had overcome the fear of public speaking.
Take up more assignments – I did. When ever an opportunity arose, I took up more speaking assignments. I was shaking with fear alright, but not paralyzed by it any more. The first plunge had done the job, but taking up more helped me overcome the fear of public speaking.
Trick your brain into believing The other things that you could do to over come the fear is to pretend, yes pretend. Pretend that the mike (if you fear it) actually covers your face. You are laughing I can see, but it worked for me! The podium shields you from the daggers and the glares of those merciless creatures waiting to tear you apart. It does, they cannot see you shivering and shaking. If you can hold your voice, they will even believe that you are fearless. I told myself they have much less to see, I could see every face in the crowd. If you don’t believe me, try looking into the eyes of one person in the crowd and they will quickly look away or look down. You have nothing to fear, they are more afraid than you are. Once I perfected this art of pretending, I was well on my way.
My take away from this is, ignore those things that threaten you or make a joke of them, they will not worry you any further. Pretend that you are looking at crowds and practice and this won’t be a strange thing anymore.
Believe in your self, you do not allow self-doubts to nag you. Use positive affirmation or power affirmation to over come your fear of public speaking
Taking classes for public speaking and video recording of the speeches will help you view objectively what you are doing and help you correct your gestures and modulate your voice well. This may help you get your confidence up to a certain extent.
Standing in front of the mirror and practice your speech, get a willing audience of your family members or friends and practice with them.
Get feedback, never argue about them, be graceful and saying that you will look it into it will help. Implement all that you consider good suggestion.
The negative side of not facing the fear of public speaking
If you choose not to overcome your problem, but flee from it, you may have to undergo a whole lot of things.
In other words, if do not overcome your problem, your fear will over take your mind and your emotions will dictate the route you should take.
Stress is one of the things you have to undergo every time you have to make a presentation or speech at work, if you choose not overcome your fear.
You may also have to pass up many opportunities that could have promoted you up in life.
Your lack of self confidence in one area may get generalized into other areas of your life and deter you from taking up teaching or training jobs, or may even may hinder you from doing a presentation for a project at work.
Self doubts increase, thereby bringing down your self confidence or selfesteem. Your growth and personal development as an individual will be stunted to a large extent.
decide - today is the time to overcome the fear of public speaking!