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Overcoming the Fear of Public Speaking- Part One

Updated on May 18, 2013

No doubt, you are interested in overcoming the fear of public speaking that has probably plagued you for years.

And you know what?

...Achieving this is not as difficult as you might have thought!

All you have to do is to acquaint yourself with the sizzling hot tips you are about to learn here.

But first, I suggest you take a moment to read about the causes of public speaking fears if you have not yet done so.

This is very important because the very first step in overcoming the fear of public speaking is to know its causes. You will understand why this is so when you read the article.

OK! Having said that, let's move ahead...

Let me make it clear at this point that most of the tips you are about to read here are ones you may have read about before. They may not be entirely new to you.

But let me warn you though. DON'T be tempted to discard them or simply 'brush’ over them or worst still be in a haste to hit on the ‘back’ button. That's what most people do! And that's why they still struggle with public speaking fear despite having read so much about it!

DON’T make that mistake! Take your time to read them, digest them and think of ways to apply them to yourself. That’s what makes the difference. You will be doing yourself a whole lot of good if you do so.

So, let’s get to work…


Hot Tip 1: Preparation is Key

I have already said a lot about the importance of good preparation in my previous hubs. My hub on Ethics in Public Speaking is an example of such.

And I will keep talking about it because its role in public speaking success can never be over-emphasized!

In fact, one of the most portent antidotes of overcoming the fear of public speaking is good preparation. And for your preparation to be fruitful, you must start early.

I consider good preparation to be so valuable to overcoming the fear of public speaking that I have decided to write a full hub on just preparation in public speaking.

There, I will share with you the practical steps I usually take in preparing for my speeches. Let me add that they have been working for me and I’m sure they will for you too. It is what I call my ‘recipe for good preparation’. So be on the lookout.


Hot Tip 2: Build Your Confidence by Visualization

Another success factor of overcoming the fear of public speaking is visualization. This is the art of forming mental images or pictures about something. I do this a lot. I usually visualize myself giving a ‘wow’ talk. I see my audience’s faces beaming with smiles and satisfaction as I give my speech. This builds my confidence a lot.

So, before you give your next speech, try to visualize yourself on the podium confidently churning out your lines with appropriate gestures and facial expressions.

See your audience radiating with happiness as they gaze at you with full concentration, nodding at intervals in agreement with the points you make. Hear the sound of their applause as they clap in satisfaction. Perceive the smell of their perfumes and feel their presence as they shake hands with you for a job well done. Be absorbed in the air of success hovering about in the hall.

See yourself succeed… and you will!

Visualizations such as these will help build your confidence and provide the much needed antidote to your public speaking anxiety.

See yourself succeed...and you will!
See yourself succeed...and you will!

Hot Tip 3: Know Your Topic/Material

You can reduce anxiety greatly if you know your topic or material very well. This should form part of your preparation. If you are given the opportunity to choose your topic, then choose one you know very well and you will be confident and comfortable talking about.

If, on the other hand, you are provided with the topic and/or outline, then get as much information as possible. Read books/magazines on the subject. Browse the Internet. Ask people for suggestions.

Be sure to gather enough information about the topic that will give you the desired confidence.

Here’s a word of caution though: Don’t become too entangled in gathering materials that you overwhelm yourself. Maintain a balance!

Knowing and becoming familiar with your topic and material will give you the confidence you need to overcome the fear of public speaking.

Hot Tip 4: All You Need Are Few Main Points

Like I cautioned above, it is easy to become overwhelmed by the barrage of information you can access especially through the Internet. Of course, what you really need is a few main points not all the information in the world!

For example, all you need for a 30 minute-1 hour talk are just 3-5 main points which you can build on.

So, cut down your materials appropriately. Choose the most important and valuable points necessary to drive your message into the hearts of your listeners.

When you have the points under your control—owing to the fact that they are just few of them—you will be more confident and be able to reduce your anxiety greatly.


Hot Tip 5: Know and Anticipate Your Audience

Another vital step in overcoming the fear of public speaking is knowing your audience.

This is because one of the greatest causes of public speaking anxiety is the fear of the audience. But you can reduce this fear if you know and can anticipate your audience.

Who are your listeners? What’s their make up? Are they children, teenagers, adults, mostly females or males? What’s their level of education? What are their concerns and interests? What’s their likely perception of the subject? How much do they likely know about the subject already?

Ask yourself questions like these. These will help you to anticipate their reaction and the likely questions they may ask you.

The more you know about your audience, the more relaxed and comfortable you will be around them. And the more confidence you will gather. The more confidence you gather, the closer you are to overcoming the fear of public speaking.


"Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken" -Oscar Wilde
"Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken" -Oscar Wilde

Hot Tip 6: Be Yourself!

This is another point I have really stressed in my earlier write-ups. Don’t increase your anxiety unnecessarily by trying to be someone else.

“How do I do this successfully?” Did you just ask?

Be natural—talk, walk and act naturally.

Yes! You may need to brush yourself up or polish certain things about yourself as it were. That’s fine. But don’t lose that touch of you that is in you.

This will go a long way in helping you to overcome the fear of public speaking.


Phew!

At this juncture, I’ve got to get down of the podium for a short recess. I’ll be back shortly to share other hot tips on overcoming the fear of public speaking with you.


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Yeah! It’s time for me to get back to the podium to discuss The Phobia of Public Speaking: Overcoming the Fear of Public Speaking—Part 2.

Please join me by clicking on the link above.

I’m waiting for you.


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