The fear of public speaking is considered a social phobia and affects approximately 15 million American adults, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. A Gallup Poll indicated that as many as 40% of American adults were afraid of speaking in public in front of an audience. A recent article by Psychology Today shared some reasons why people are afraid of public speaking. If you are one of the many adults who fear public speaking, the good news is that there are ways to help you overcome your fear. Read on for our top five.
Plan. As you prepare for a public speaking event, be sure to simplify your message, practice, and address the areas that you struggle with. As you rehearse your presentation, think of what you can cut out. Keeping it simple will make things easier for both you and your audience. Also, the more you practice, the more confident you will be in your message.
Visualize success. See yourself being successful instead of failing. Imagine how proud you will feel at the end of the speaking event after you’ve overcome your fear. The audience applauds, or if they’re students, they have actually learned something new and may even look forward to your next class.
Take a deep breath. This is a great way to relax your body. As you ease the physical tension, you decrease the likelihood that you will experience those negative effects associated with being nervous (e.g., shaky voice, sweaty hands, shortness of breath, etc).
Focus on the audience. What will the audience get out of your message? How will your presentation enhance their lives? Remember that you have something of value to provide to the audience and they are there to learn from you, whether they realize it or not. If you focus on their needs instead of your fears, it will put you more at ease.
Connect with one person at a time. Make eye contact with several members of the audience throughout your presentation. Imagine that each person is the only one in the room for that moment. It is much less intimidating to talk to one person than to a group, whether it’s 5 people or 5,000.
If you are looking for a public speaking coach to help you overcome your fear of public speaking, Online Speech Services can help. We offer online public speaking coaching and public speaking courses. Contact us today for your free consultation! #publicspeaking #professionaldevelopment