Speaking in public: Tips for overcoming fears

The fear of speaking in public is known as glossophobia and some experts estimate 75% of the population has some level of anxiety regarding public speaking. If you fall into this category, take a deep breath and relax. You can beat the fear of public speaking with these following tips:

  • Know your material. If you pick a topic you are truly interested in, you’ll naturally seek additional information. The more you know about the topic, the more confidence you’ll have.  Including a personal story or speaking in a conversational tone can create a friendlier, less intimidating atmosphere.
  • Practice! Tell your speech to the mirror, a friend, your pet, or anyone who’d like to listen. Saying the words out loud will reveal any errors or incongruences in your speech. Then revise it as necessary.
  • Relax. Address the audience by stating your name and the topic you will be discussing. Take a moment to make eye contact. You’ll notice the audience is full of individuals just like you, interested in what you have to say. Take your nerves and transform them into energy. The more excited you are about your speech, the more interested your audience will be.
  • Your audience is your fan section. Your audience is full of people who want you to inform and entertain. They are cheering for you. If you are speaking as part of a class, don’t forget that each student will have to give a speech just like you.
  • Don’t apologize for nervousness. In most cases, audiences won’t notice a problem or pronunciation error. Remember that you are the one who is knowledgeable on the subject. Most audience members will never know if you make a mistake.
  • Concentrate on the message. You’ve worked hard to gather the information. Now is your time to shine. Concentrate on relaying that information to the audience. Focus only on your speech and your audience. Everything else can wait.

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