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How to Overcome Your Fear of Public Speaking

Updated on March 25, 2018
Sudhir Devapalan profile image

I am a front-end developer by profession, but I enjoy writing articles about anything mysterious, interesting, and fascinating.

If you are a person who gets nervous at the mere thought of speaking in public then don't fret as you are not alone. This is a very common problem and there are many ways to overcome this fear. Before we look into the ways to overcome your fear we need to understand more about it.

Glossophobia:

Public Speaking
Public Speaking

Glossophobia, which is the fear of public speaking is a very common type of phobia or fear. It is said that well over half of the population have this fear and not surprisingly Glossophobia ranks consistently as one of the top 10 phobias around. You may be surprised to learn about this but in many surveys over 70% of the participants admit to having the fear of public speaking.

There are various symptoms associated with Glossophobia. When they step onto the stage they get a feeling of anxiety and the feeling of dryness in their mouth. The individual also gets the feeling of a lump in their throat. They begin to stammer and sometimes completely lose their voice and are no longer able to speak. Now that we know what we are up against, let us analyze and find out how we can tackle this.

You Are Not Alone:

You are not alone
You are not alone

As we have already seen, three out of four individuals face speech anxiety and that is 75% of the population. Having the fear of public speaking is nothing to be ashamed or worried about. Most people tend to give up early saying that they do not have that particular 'skill or talent'. I assure you that this has nothing to do with any kind of inborn talent.

What most people do not understand is the lengthy struggle faced by a person before he becomes proficient in public speaking. It does not happen overnight and no person will be that confident while giving his first few speeches. The nerves will be there but whether or not you become successful is all in your mind. If you have the confidence and willpower you will overcome your fear.

Overcoming Your Fear of Failure:

Overcoming Fear
Overcoming Fear

This is the first hurdle which you must overcome in order to succeed. Most people end up quitting not because of their incompetence but due to their lack of courage to face an audience. The fear of being mocked and ridiculed by others pushes them away from their goal. It is because of this fact that people do not even give it a try. The first step which you take will be the most difficult but if you put your mind to it then you will pull through.

If all goes as planned then there is nothing to worry but the challenge is how we face obstacles. If a person suddenly forgets his next line or stammers a little then they freeze in panic. This is the mind playing tricks on you. It is alright to stop for a moment take a deep breath to regain your composure and start again.

Do Not Overthink:

Do Not Overthink
Do Not Overthink

Do not doubt yourself or think about what could go wrong. Clear your mind and focus on the speech alone and you will be fine. If you start doubting yourself then it is all over even before you begin your speech. Making mistakes is inevitable and you must learn to get past it and continue your speech. No matter what happens, "The show must go on!"

Even while delivering your speech try not to be too self-conscious. This is a classic example of the "Spotlight Effect". The fact is that people do not tend to notice us as much as we do ourselves. If you stammer or make a mistake in the middle of your speech, chances are that this would have gone unnoticed by the majority of the audience. So it is really not worth brooding over and spoiling your rhythm.

Practice:

Practice
Practice

No matter what task you do, practicing is the key to success. Great orators practice their speech over and over again until it becomes second nature to them. Hitler used to practice his speeches by imitating the actions done by Opera singers to allure the crowd. Even if a person is very talented and proficient, if he does not practice well then he will surely fail.

Practice your speech over and over again until you are confident with yourself. Speak in front of the mirror and imagine yourself standing before a huge audience. You can even give your speech to your family or friends to better prepare yourself and get their suggestions as well. Be sure to practice multiple times just to be sure that you are comfortable.

Confidence is Everything:

Confidence
Confidence

No matter what advice or suggestions I give, it all revolves around your self-confidence. Every tip or trick is ultimately aimed at improving your confidence and thereby enabling you to overcome your fear of public speaking. The more you try the more confidence you get. With each success, you can feel proud of yourself. I was fortunate enough to have amazing teachers who supported me and helped me gain confidence in myself. Sometimes all you need is a little push to get yourself going.

Last but not the least, remember that it is "okay to fail". It is not fair to expect things to go smoothly all the time and there are situations where despite all the preparations, things don't go as planned. You need to learn to put all that behind you when you get up on stage the next time. Stay confident and dispel all your fears!

Do you have the fear of public speaking?

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© 2018 Sudhir

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