698-How to Get Over Your Fear of Public Speaking
listen to 698-How to Get Over Your Fear of Public Speaking
How to Get Over Your Fear of Public Speaking
5 Things You Can Do to Develop Confidence When Giving Your Next Presentation
The fear of public speaking prevents most people from expressing themselves freely because it makes them feel uncomfortable.
If you are a leader, public speaking is an important part of your role, as you will be required to lead team meetings and give presentations.
The more comfortable you are when giving a presentation, the easier it will be to influence others.
Why People Have a Fear of Public Speaking
Public speaking terrifies many people. Common reasons why people are not comfortable when speaking to an audience include:
- They don’t want to be seen as inadequate or not good enough.
- They don’t feel well-prepared.
- They question the value they can provide because they have an imposter syndrome fear.
- Their focus is mainly on themselves, how they look or what the audience thinks of them.
- They have a fear of failure and that they will be exposed for their weaknesses.
If you address your fears, you will develop more confidence whenever you need to speak to an audience.
The Benefits of Getting Over Your Fear of Public Speaking
If you are more comfortable with public speaking, the benefits include:
- You will improve your communication skills.
- You will become a better leader.
- You will have more influence with your audience.
- You will achieve your outcomes a lot easier.
- You will have more self-confidence.
My First Experience of Speaking in Public
My earliest recollection of speaking to an audience was when I was nine years old. I was chosen to represent my class in an oratory competition, where I was competing with other students for selection to represent our school.
I remember giving a few presentations to my class and feeling nervous every time. When it came time to present to all the teachers in their staff room, fear and panic set in. My mum was a teacher at the school, which did not make the experience easier.
When asked to present, I read my whole speech because I did not want to be chosen, which is what happened. That experience had a significant impact on my confidence and I avoided public speaking as much as I could until I was in my twenties.
My career and the different roles I’ve had required me to speak to audiences, which meant I had to get over my fear of public speaking. Even though I still feel butterflies in my stomach before giving a presentation, I am more comfortable now whenever I’m in front of an audience.
5 Things You Can Do to Get Over Your Fear of Public Speaking
Here are five things you can do to get over your fear of public speaking, so you feel comfortable when giving a presentation and can convey what you want confidently.
- Know your audience and the outcomes they want. Whenever you give a presentation, you should have an intention or an outcome. You should also know the outcomes your audience wants. Give more focus to what’s important to them and how you can serve them.
- Prepare well and enlist help, if needed. Whenever you attempt something that is challenging, it is wise to get help to make the process easier. You shouldn’t have to do it yourself. Preparation includes knowing your main points, the stories you want to share and how you want to interact or engage with the audience.
- Acknowledge the emotions you are experiencing. It you feel nervous or anxious, accept it’s part of the experience. You cannot force it to go away. Once you acknowledge what you are feeling, you can shift your focus to how you will serve your audience.
- Be genuine and transparent. Any audience will know whether the presenter is genuine or fake. If you are prepared well, you can be yourself, without the need to fake anything. Most audiences are forgiving. They will relate to you better if you allow yourself to make mistakes.
- Think beyond your presentation. A presentation is an event. Like all events, it will come to an end and be a memory. You have survived risks before and you will also survive your next presentation. You can even think of things you will do to celebrate when your presentation is over.
Think about what would be possible if you get over your fear of public speaking. When you have an opportunity to present to an audience, it is a privilege because you can influence them.
Rather than thinking you “have to” give a presentation, a better mindset is, you “get to” speak to them. That should not be taken lightly and can make a huge difference to your personal and professional life.
Action Step: Before your next presentation, find out what your audience wants or needs, then prepare as well as you can, with the help of someone. Practice your presentation a few times and refine as needed.
Question: What are other things you can do to get over your fear of public speaking?