Conquer the Fear of Public Speaking

Did you know that 10% of the human population are terrified of public speaking, another 80% are in the middle who experience moderate discomfort, and another 10% absolutely love public speaking. These facts are a huge indicator about how something so unassuming can be so petrifying, and even though feeling some nervousness before giving a speech and/or presentation is natural, too much nervousness can be detrimental to your health and future career growth.

 

Here are some proven tips on how to control your nerves and make you seem more confident:
 
Know the room.
Arrive early, walk around the speaking area, practice using the microphone, check for the availability of a whiteboard if you wish to use visual aids and most importantly check the electrical outlets.
 
Know your material
Pick a topic that you are interested in. Know more about it than you include in your speech. Use humour, personal stories and conversational language – that will help you and your audience to retain the information more efficiently.
 
Visualise yourself giving your speech.
Imagine yourself speaking confidently, hear your voice, and make sure to enunciate each word clearly and loudly. Visualise the audience clapping – it will boost your confidence.
 
Practice. Practice. Practice.
Review out loud with all the equipment you plan on using so as to get used to it and appear more natural and fluid on the day of the speech. Remember to control filler words such as “aaahh” “uumm”; Practice with a timer and allow time for the unexpected.
 
Don’t apologise for any nervousness slip.
The audience probably never noticed it. Use PowerPoint slides, flipcharts, videos and other visual aids to help guide you in the right direction and give you a quick breather.
 
Gain experience.
Experience builds confidence, know that you will only get better with more live practice. So learn to put yourself out there and give speeches despite your fears.
 
The best way to do that is by joining a club at your university or by joining a Meetup group (Meetup.com), as they can provide you with the experience you need in a safe and friendly environment.
 
Realise that people want you to succeed.
Know that the audience wants you to be interesting, stimulating, informative and entertaining. As long as you can be yourself and keep the information relevant yet fun they will love you.
 
Concentrate on the message – not the medium.
Focus your attention away from your own anxieties and concentrate on your message and your audience.
 
Relax.
The second you walk to the podium look around at the audience and smile and count to three before saying anything. This will help transform nervous energy into enthusiasm.
 

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