4 Easy Ways to Conquer the Fear of Public Speaking
By Alicia Harris
How successful you are at selling your company, product and even yourself all depends on your ability to stand up and be heard. Mastering the art of public speaking can seem daunting at times. You may feel as though the sweaty palms, anxiety attacks and nervousness that you feel before speaking in front of a crowd will never go away. Luckily, here are a few ways to overcome the fear of public speaking and execute your next speech flawlessly!
1. Know That It Always Looks Worse from the Inside
The good news is that although you may think the audience is aware of how nervous you are, 90% of the time they have no clue! If you feel nervous when speaking, you tend to focus on and exaggerate the anxiety and tension that slowly builds in your chest. Many times, speakers have lamented on their anxiety after a speech, only to learn that the audience adored their calm and collected demeanor. Remember, the audience cannot see your internal state. Just because you are shaking uncontrollably or sweating bullets doesn’t necessarily mean that the audience will perceive you that way.
2. Know How You React to Stress
People react to stress and nervousness differently. Knowing your reactions to stressful situations can help you to predict and cope with these physical conditions. For example, if you know that your hands tend to shake when giving a speech, avoid holding a piece of paper in front of an audience which will only amplify the movement of your hands. Or if you know that you sweat uncontrollably in front of crowds, don’t wear light colors that will showcase this to the audience. Whatever your response to stress is, don’t wait until the last minute to discover it.
3. Know Your Speech
This seems simple enough, doesn’t it? Before the final presentation, you should know your speech like the back of your hand. However, this doesn’t mean memorize it. Instead, use well structured notes that outline the major points of your speech. You should be able to look down at these brief examples and sentences to stay on track with your presentation. The more confident you are about your message, the less nervous you will be.
4. Visualize Success
Basketball players often visualize the ball entering the net several moments before they shoot. There is a great deal of research that equates visualization to success. Like athletes, public speakers can also use visualization to reduce nervousness and improve their performance. Before you give a speech, take a moment to picture yourself in front of the audience. Hear the words effortlessly fall out of your mouth as you execute a perfect and well-rounded speech. By visualizing yourself succeeding, you improve your confidence and muster the courage that you never knew you had.
Alicia Harris is a blogger, motivational speaker, and social media guru. She has a passion for activism and motivating her peers to be relentless in the face of adversity. You can stay up-to-date with her latest work at alicialexis.wordpress.com and follow her on Instagram @aliciaalexis