Fear of public speaking is so common that it has its own name: glossophobia. It’s also sometimes referred to as “stage fright.” It can affect nearly anyone, though some are more prone to it than others.
The fear of public speaking is often thought to be one of the most common phobias, although studies show that many people who fear public speaking may not consider it a phobia.
What Causes the Fear of Public Speaking?
The fear of public speaking is caused by several factors. It might stem from other fears that you have, such as the fear of being judged or embarrassed. A past bad experience with public speaking may also contribute to the situation.
Dealing with the fear of public speaking is a lot like dealing with the fear of flying. For some people, it’s just a matter of getting used to the situation. For others, it might be a lifelong phobia.
Some people who are afraid of public speaking might have a fear of public speaking in front of a certain type of people. For instance, you may feel nervous in front of one gender or another. For example, a man who is afraid of speaking in front of women might find he’s also afraid of speaking in front of men.
How to Overcome Fear of Public Speaking?
While there are treatments for the fear, you might be able to overcome your fear of public speaking with a little willpower and some simple techniques. Techniques such as having command on the topic of your speech, and knowing your audience, to using certain tools.
In this Chlorine listicle, we have compiled a list of 30 key points that will help you completely overcome your fear of public speaking.
1. Use visual aids
Visual aids are especially effective when you are presenting to a large group of people. It is much easier to present to fifty people if you have a large screen or projector to share your information.
If you do not have access to a projector, you can use a wall or a whiteboard to write out your information. A chalkboard or erasable marker board is great for a small room but can be hard to read for a large audience.
2. Ask questions
When speaking to a large group of people, it is sometimes hard to remember what you want to say next. If you feel yourself getting nervous, stop and ask a question of your audience. This will help you get back on track and also keep your audience’s attention.
Additionally, you can start your speech by asking a simple question. This will kickstart a discussion and you will feel engaged beforehand.
3. Get the facts
If you are nervous about a presentation, it can be helpful to get the facts and statistics on the topic you are presenting. This can help you counter any nervous feelings you may have and also help you remember your information.
Knowing more about the topic will naturally boost your confidence.
4. Do a run-through
The night before your presentation, or even the morning of, do a run-through of your speech. This will help you figure out how long it is and get all your information out in the right order.
5. Visualize success
Take time to visualize success. Imagine yourself speaking confidently, using your notes well, and getting a lot of positive feedback from the audience. This will help you feel more confident the next day when you deliver the speech.
6. Prepare for the unexpected
Anything can happen with a presentation, including a technical failure or a difficult question from an audience member. If you do not know the answer to a question, don’t panic. Simply admit you do not know, and move on.
7. Relax, Rest
The night before, relax and get a good night’s sleep. If there are any errands you need to run the morning of, do them as early as possible. This will help you stay calm and focused when you take the stage.
8. Know your Material
Knowing your material will reduce your stage fright. If you’re comfortable with your material, you’ll feel more confident and less nervous.
10. Know your audience
Before you begin to speak, take a few minutes to look around the room. Learn the names of a few people in the audience. Make eye contact with a few people in the audience. If possible, chat with a few people before your speech. Knowing your audience will help you to relax.
11. Know Your Limitations
If you’re new to public speaking, you may need to avoid certain topics. If you’re an expert on a subject, you may need to present it with less enthusiasm. If you’re a slow speaker, you may need to speak faster.
12. Practice Pitch
Try different pitches to see how they affect your voice. If your pitch is too high, speak more slowly. If your pitch is too low, speak faster. Practice pitch until you find a pitch that is comfortable for you.
13. Know your Points
Know your points and be prepared to remember them. Make a list of points you want to make. Use the list to help you remember your presentation.
14. Practice In Front of a Mirror
Practice your presentation in front of a mirror. Watch your facial expressions as you speak. Watch your body language. Make sure that you are standing straight and that you are looking at the audience.
15. Practice In Front of Friends and Family
Practice your presentation in front of family and friends. Ask for feedback. Ask others for suggestions. You may discover that your friends and family are more supportive than you think.
16. Practice in front of a Video Camera
If you can, practice in front of a video camera. Ask others to watch and give you feedback.
17. Have a Buddy
Ask a friend to come to your speech with you. If you can’t find anyone to go with you, ask for a friend to watch you from the audience.
18. Wear Comfortable Clothes
If you’re nervous, you’ll be more comfortable in comfortable clothes. Wear clothes that are comfortable for you.
19. Your Topic Doesn’t Matter
Speak about the subject you know best. Speak about the subject you are most passionate about. Speak about the subject you enjoy. When you speak from the heart, you’ll feel more relaxed and more confident.
20. Fear of Public Speaking: Be Yourself
Don’t try to be someone you’re not. Be yourself and you’ll speak with more confidence. Remind yourself that you are not there to impress others, rather, to impart what you know to others and learn more from other people.
21. Thank the Audience
Thank the audience before you begin your presentation. Thank them again at the end of your presentation. If you’re nervous, you’ll feel more comfortable when you know that you have their support.
22. Practice, Practice, Practice
Practice your presentation until you feel comfortable. Practice it until you know it by heart, until you feel confident, until you are ready.
23. Give yourself a pep-talk
Before you speak, give yourself a pep talk. Tell yourself that you can do it. You can do it! You’re prepared. You know your material. You feel confident. You can do it!
24. Make Eye Contact
Make eye contact with the audience. Look at several people in the audience. Start at one end of the room and scan the room. Make eye contact with a few people in the audience.
25. Speak Slowly
Don’t be afraid to speak slowly. Speak slowly and clearly. Speak loudly and pause between each sentence.
26. Slow Down
If you’re nervous, slow down. Slow down your speech, your walk, and your breathing. Take a deep breath and hold it for a few seconds. Then exhale slowly.
27. Practice with a timer
Practice with a timer. Try to keep your speech to a set time. Keep your speech within a certain time limit. Practice until you’re comfortable with the time.
28. Don’t Read your Speech
Your speech should be short and simple. If you read it, you’ll forget what you want to say. If you speak from the heart, you’ll remember what you want to say.
29. Tell a story
Stories are engaging and help you focus on something besides your fear. As compared to plain speeches, people love stories more. Depending on the length of your speech, add one or more brief stories.
30. Have a Backup Plan
Have a second option in case the first one fails. Have a plan “B” in case your plan “A” doesn’t work. A plan ”B” may include switching to a question-answer session instead of delivering a speech.