How to Get Over Fear of Public Speaking
For many of us, the thought of speaking in front of a crowd is enough to instill fear or panic in our hearts. Fear of public speaking is common. For some, it causes nothing more than mild anxiety. For others, it causes panic. Many people who have this form of anxiety avoid public speaking and desire to learn how to get over fear of public speaking.
Conquering this fear and learning the art of public speaking will give you the freedom and confidence to handle any speaking situation that comes your way. Here's how:
How to Get Over Fear of Public Speaking: Tips
1. Research Your Topic
The more you know about your topic, the more you’ll care and the less likely you will be to make a mistake. It’s less daunting and scary to speak on a subject that you have extensive knowledge in. Take time to think about potential questions the live audience may ask and prepare responses so that you can answer confidently.
2. Visualize Your Success
Visualization is a powerful tool. If you can see it and imagine it, you can make it a reality. Picture your speech going well. Keep positive thoughts at the forefront of your mind. Staying positive can help alleviate some of the anxiety and negativity surrounding public speaking.
3. Practice Makes Perfect
Practicing your speech can help alleviate some of your anxiety and learn how to get over fear of public speaking. For many people, the anxiety stems from fear of embarrassment. We worry that we will forget what we’re supposed to say or mess up our speech.
Public speaking training doesn’t need to be difficult. If you know your speech like the back of your hand, you can speak confidently to the crowd.
In addition, don’t forget to practice your body language. Think about good public speakers that you may have seen presenting at Ted talks and try to simulate their posture and movements.
4. Challenge Your Worries
What is it specifically that you are worried about? What triggers your anxiety? Take the time to list out your specific worries. Then, challenge these worries by identifying alternative and more probable outcomes. Have a plan for how to handle the situation if the worst-case scenario should happen.
Sometimes, having a plan can dispel anxiety because you know what to do should you be faced with that scenario.
5. Get Organized
Remember how we talked about the importance of planning? That includes organizing your presentation. Plan out all of the information that you want to present to the audience. This will help you feel more prepared and confident.
Try visiting the place where you will be speaking to get a feel for the environment and the equipment that will be used during the presentation.
You can also employ some visual aids or jot down the key points to help your feel more comfortable during the presentation.
6. The Material is What Matters – Not the Audience
It’s important to remember that it’s the material – not the audience – that matters. The subject matter that you’re going to cover is what’s most important. If you are wondering how to get over fear of public speaking, remember to stay focused on your purpose.
7. Do Some Deep Breathing
Take a few slow, deep breaths before your public speech. This could be very calming. Breathing may be the simplest, yet effective, way of how to get over fear of public speaking.
8. Don’t Fear a Moment of Silence
If your mind goes blank, you lose your train of thought, or start to feel nervous, you may feel like you’ve been silent for a very long time. In reality, however, the moment of silence only lasts a few seconds. Even if it is longer, your audience might actually enjoy the time to think about what you’ve presented. Just take several slow breaths and move on.
9. Recognize Your Success
After your presentation, feel proud about yourself. It may not have been perfect, but you are probably more critical about yourself than the audience is. Everybody can make mistakes. Just think about the mistakes you’ve made as a chance to learn something and improve your skills for the next time.
10. Get Support
Consider joining a group that provides support to people suffering from fear of public speaking. One amazing resource is Toastmasters - a not-for-profit organization that focuses on providing training on public speaking skills and leadership. Many business schools also offer free public speaking courses.
Stop Thinking About Yourself to Overcome Fear of Public Speaking
An interesting fact about public speaking is that thinking about yourself while you present makes you more stressed and anxious. Instead of focusing on yourself, you can try to concentrate on the audience instead.
Just follow these three simple tips:
1. While preparing, think about your audience.
While staying focused on the topic is important, thinking about the audience can help break down the ice between you and the others. Ask yourself: Who will be listening to me? What do they need? Why are they there?
Identifying the audience’s needs can help you deliver a message that speaks directly to these needs.
2. Right before the presentation, refocus your brain.
You usually get the most nervous right before you have to speak. At this moment, your brain is telling you: “What if I fail? Everyone will judge me.”
And this is exactly the right moment to refocus your brain.
Try to remind yourself that you are here to help your audience. Tell yourself that the presentation is not about you, but rather about helping your audience.
With time, you will memorize this feeling and will become less nervous about public speaking.
3. While you are speaking, make eye contact.
Many people presenting in front of an audience try to speak to everyone at once. They continuously scan the room, but end up connecting with no one.
The fact is that every person in the audience is listening to you individually.
So the best way to connect with the audience is to treat people as separate audience members.
It is simple to do! Just sustain an eye contact with a single person for each thought that you deliver. By focusing on an individual, you will make each person feel like you are talking directly to them.
We are so used to scanning the room that making eye contact with an individual may feel uncomfortable. However, the more you practice, the less nervous you become. So how to get over fear of public speaking?
View your presentation as a series of one-to-one conversations rather than a speech to a large group.
What Causes Fear of Public Speaking
At some point in their life, every person feels nervous about presenting in public. While for some people it just feels slightly uncomfortable, others suffer from a real phobia of public speaking. So what is the science behind the fear of public speaking?
Phobia of public speaking may arise as a result of a combination of genetic and external factors. People who are afraid of speaking in public are also scared of being rejected or embarrassed or they may have had similar experiences in the past. Once faced with the need to speak in public, their bodies produce a fight or flight response, which could feel like paralyzing panic.
Many times, the fear is related to social anxiety disorder and needs to be treated with cognitive behavioral therapy.
In addition, people may fear presenting in public when they overestimate the importance of communicating in front of others. They view their speech as a potential threat to their image, credibility, and opportunity to reach the audience.
Most of us are afraid of public speaking to some degree. When we get up in front of a crowd, we are vulnerable to rejection. But our voices need to be heard, and we should not let our fears stop us from achieving success.
Overcome Fear of Public Speaking with Hypnosis Tapping
Today is the day to start conquering your public speaking anxiety. You can have a good time while talking in front of others!
Tapping can help you gain the confidence and strength you need to speak in front of a crowd and learn how to get over fear of public speaking. Never again will you be afraid to speak to an audience or express your point of view with fear.