Public speaking fear may take over your life. People fear giving a speech in front of large groups more than they fear spiders, snakes, disease, heights, and death. Over 85 percent feel uncomfortable speaking in public. They often experience increased heart beat, sweaty palms, high blood pressure, muscle tension, dry mouth, nausea, and shortness of breath. Unfortunately there is no magic formula for curing public speaking fear. The only way to overcome anxiety is to practice your speech and trust yourself.
Most people who are able to deliver a successful speech have learned coping skills that help them control their fear of large groups. Negative or insufficient experience, inadequate preparation, negative self-talk, and a pessimistic attitude can affect your behavior and preoccupy your mind before you speak. By overcoming these obstacles, you will gain self confidence and improve your public speaking skills. There are various relaxation techniques that can help you overcome speech anxiety.
Self confidence and public speaking are considered complementary to each other since a high level of confidence is required to be able to speak in front of groups. People who trust themselves are more proactive and have the energy to think and act. They also feel good about themselves and experience less anxiety in stressful situations. If you believe in yourself, public speaking will be a positive experience.
Successful speakers are capable of fielding questions on their particular topic and can approach the subject from different perspectives. Therefore, it’s necessary to familiarize yourself with the topic and gather information in order to deliver a great speech. This will boost your self confidence and increase your chances of success. See the speech as an opportunity to improve yourself and learn new skills. Visualize yourself as a successful speaker.
Think about your biggest fears and their consequences. Picture the worst that can happen. Facing your fears can make them seem less scary. Once you know what to expect in the worst case scenario, you feel more prepared and self assured.
Feeling self confident and trusting your abilities as a public speaker will make all the difference in the quality of your presentation. Identify your negative thoughts and replace them with positive ones. Practice positive self-talk to block the irrational negative talk. Learn how to use effective non-verbal communication and work hard to keep your breathing regulated. Think of the mistakes you make as a stepping stone toward becoming a better speaker.
Image credit: Grant Cochrane