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Shaking the Fear of Public Speaking

Updated on March 26, 2012

Imagine you are standing in front of a group of people, you don't know any one. You hands are sweating through your index cards, You open your mouth to speak, but it so dry nothing comes out, the pit n your stomach that has been forming is taking over, and you run off the stage as fast as you can. In this time, that feels like a single moment you, you have ruined your presentation and also any reputation you had as a professional or student.

I have been in this situation before and I know overcoming the fear and anxiety will open up bigger and better opportunities in the future. Their are steps you can follow that will help you maintain confidence, structure and execute your presentation to the best of your ability. Weather you are a student who has never spoken in public before, or a professional that has always had a hard time when it comes to being in the spotlight, and any one in between you can all become great public speakers.

Type of Presentation and Topic

Make sure when you have a presentation due you know what type it is. This is the foundation of how you will actually present you information. Is your presentation formal, in front of professionals, in front of a class, or is it informal, persuasive or informative, do you need slides or handouts, is their time constraints? Once you have found out the type of presentation you are giving and the perimeters, you need to look at your topic, wheatherwhether it is assigned, or an independently produced topic. f it is assigned you may not like it, but don't give into the negative aspect of it, overcome and accomplish. If it is a topic you have to pick make sure it is something you like and something you can easily find research for and talk about.

Ideas, Research and Organization

The down fall of many presentations is the lack of Organization. Many people fail to structure their presentation in an accurate way and it leads to the downfall of the majority of presentations. Before you organize you need research and before research you need ideas.

Gathering the topic of your presentation, grab any writing materials around you. Sit down in a place that is best suited to brainstorm ideas. This is purely individual some people may need a quiet area, while other work best with blaring music. Don't limit your self to a short amount of time like fifteen minutes or an hour before your actual presentation. Give yourself an hour, a day, or a few days, to generate ideas for your topic. Make a list order them from most important to least that way you know what to research.

Once you have your list of ideas, go to the library or get on the internet. I suggest taking your computer to the library it has less distractions. During the research phase which is most critical in gathering support for your ideas you don't want to be distracted. Not giving adequate attention to your research will surely cause you to miss supporting evidence or gather incorrect information. Don't Be afraid to ask, whether you are looking at the library or doing public records research people are always around to help.

Once you have done your research make sure it is all in order the way it is listed on your ideas' sheet. You must start and continue to keep all your material structured and organized to easily go through.

Creating Your Speech and Presentation.

When creating your speech and presentation, you start by Organizing the set up. Ic can go along the lines of:

1) Introduction: Two to three sentences stating who you are, what your topic is and what you will be talking about.

2) The Body: Depending on your time limit if their is any this can be 2 two three topics broken down or more topics if their is no time limit.

a) First Idea

i) First supporting evidence (For perssuasion)/ Information (For informitive)

ii) Second supporting evidence/ Information

iii) Conclusion and tie in to the next idea/topic

b) Second Idea and so forth

3) Conclusion and Summary tieing in your ideas topic and ending with a strong conclusion.

Slides, and Handouts can be great to outline your presentation, but their is a right way and a wrong way to do them. On your slides or hand outs do not place your words verbatum, instead paraphrase or highlight the topics that are important. Don not overflow you prentation with pictures, graphs or videos. Sort and pick through those that are most related to your topic.

Finding your confidence.

After you have completed your presentation, you now have a solid base to overcoming your fear. Now you can look at yourself and find the confidence needed to give your presentation. Now people say picture you audience your naked, but that is not effective at all. You need to look within yourself and find your voice. You may keep saying to yourself you can't do this their is no way. Shake the attitude and say I can do this, I am going to do this, I will accomplish this. Giving yourself positive reinforcement. will give you the courage. Deep breathing exercises while standing in front of a mirror will also help while saying you can do it.


Practicing with out an Audience

Stand in front of a bathroom mirror or a full length mirror, have a watch clock, or stopwatch. Begin with your speech, time yourself, think about being in front of an audience but all you see is you standing in front of you. The reflection of you is your biggest enemy in public speaking, as in most things it is yourself blocking your way. So push through looking your reflection in the eye give your speech over and over till you feel more confident.

Practicing In front of an Audience.

Grab some friends, family or colleagues Besides your self the people closest to you are your biggest critics. Gather your group and give them a copy of your speech and presentation ask them to come up with questions to ask you after your speech, to be ready for any questions that might be asked after your real presentation. Ask one person to count the number, of "Um’s"' and have them write them on the copy of the speech you gave them, ask another person to do the same for "Awkward Pauses", and another to count the "You Know What I Mean" cause usually our audience doesn't know that’s why their listening.

Ask the group to be honest, and be prepared for the criticism yes it may hurt but it will make you better, and can give you confidence that when you have your final presentation, you will have a near perfect one.

The Big Day

Remember to go through your speech continuously before this day, and up to an hour before. After that relax, breath, and enjoy the fact that the hard work you have put in will pay off. When you get in front of your audience take a deep breath but don't make it to obvious. When you look out into the audience remember the mirror and the only thing blocking your success is you, and remember you can do it and you will succeed


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