Public speaking fear is incredibly common and can take over your life. More than 85 percent of people feel uncomfortable speaking in front of large groups. Some may experience increased blood pressure, dry mouth, and shortness of breath, sweaty palms, and severe anxiety. There is no magic formula for curing public speaking fear. However, there are several techniques you can use to overcome the fear of public speaking and improve your skills.
When it comes to public speaking, nothing is more important than practice. Make sure you have your speech written at least a week before the event. Acknowledge your fear and get comfortable with them. Putting a label on the things that make you anxious is the best way to start gaining some control over your life. Talk about your fears and try to overcome them by practicing your speech properly.
Record yourself and watch the videos. Practice aloud in front of a mirror. Use power point slides and cards rather than memorizing your speech word-by-word. If possible, practice in the same location where you will give the speech. Consider joining a group like Toastmasters. Many public speakers join such groups to improve their skills and make new friends. Public speaking gives you confidence and increases your chances of having a successful career. Therefore, it’s essential to overcome your fear and become a better speaker.
You may also try some breathing exercises to calm your nerves. This is especially important right before the speech. Visualize yourself giving your speech. Do what works best for you. Some people memorize their speech, while others prefer to read it. Having small note cards with you is highly recommended. Speaking impromptu is risky. Don’t try to memorize your speech unless you have a real talent for it, or you have given the same speech several times before.
If you skip a section of your speech or forget to read a sentence, it’s doubtful anyone will know. Just relax and move on. Go easy on the apologies and let your audience believe that you have everything under control. If someone asks difficult questions during your speech, deal with them through humor. In case you don’t know the answer, make an educated guess. Pay attention to your body language: make eye contact, take deep breaths, and smile. Focus on one friendly face at a time. Imagine that you’re having a conversation with one person. End your speech naturally and leave the podium as slowly as you walked to it.