How To Overcome The Fear Of Public Speaking

"All the great speakers were bad speakers at first."

Which one sounds scarier? A stage with a huge audience seated in front of it or a coffin? Ideally speaking, the answer to this question should be the latter. But, according to most studies, majority of the people fear public speaking more than death. This implies that they are ready to face death but not speak in front of an audience!

Legs shaking, beads of perspiration on your forehead and the mind full of a rollercoaster of thoughts and emotions. Most of us have been through this at some point of time or the other, right? Speaking fluently in front of a massive audience that is ever ready to judge you for your mistakes is not an easy task. But, should the fear of being criticized stop you from expressing yourself in front of others? No. For that, you need to first overcome speech anxiety.

The fear of public speaking is called Glossophobia, as if the phobia was not enough to send a chill down your spine that it has been given such a daunting name. It is estimated that around 75% of the people suffer from speech anxiety which makes it the number one fear on the list of phobias. Number two is death. So, if you suffer from this terrible fear, fret not because you are not the only one.

This article is for all those who are presently suffering from Glossophobia but, want to make it a thing of the past and brighten up their future! So, read on to learn some effective ways to overcome the fear of public speaking.

Let go of the perfectionist in you

Nobody is perfect. Even the best of speakers make mistakes. But, what makes them count among the best is that they carry on with poise and grace despite committing errors. We often tend to magnify our imperfections in the pursuit of perfection. By doing so, we neglect the plus points that we already possess which in turn lowers our self-confidence. So, if you make a mistake on stage, recover and keep going because the audience will not come to know about most of your errors unless you pause and confess.

Prepare and practice well

It is rightly said that practice makes a man perfect. You must prepare a script well in advance and practice as much as you can. The most effective way is to practice in front of the mirror. This will direct your attention towards your facial expressions and body language which forms an equally vital part of your presentation.

Know your audience

The idea of speaking in front of a group of complete strangers is likely to make you more anxious than speaking in front of your friends. To eliminate this fear, try knowing your audience by mingling with a few of them. This will not only ease your tension to some extent, but also help you strike a chord with your audience.

Understand your fears

It is essential for you to understand that before addressing a huge audience, one is bound to get a bit nervous, though the intensity varies from person to person. You must learn to treat this anxiety as something very normal and not worry much about it. Instead of letting your negative emotions get the best of you, try tricking your mind into believing that all those eyes staring at you are not a sign of trouble but that of curious minds which are eager to learn from you.

Avoid trying to memorize each and every word

While making notes is a must, you should avoid trying to memorize each and every word as that will only add on to the pressure. It will cause greater nervousness if you jumble up the sequence of words on stage. Hence, be thorough with your material but there is no need to mug up everything.

Get feedback

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Before your big day, practice in front of others and get their feedback. This will help you relax and chuck out some unwanted fears, give you some experience and boost your self-confidence. However, ensure that those listening to your speech are completely honest with you in their critique.

Take criticism positively

When it comes to compliments, we love being on the receiving end. But, the same does not hold true in case of criticism. Do not get upset if you are unable to deliver a flawless speech in your first attempt. Learn to take criticism in the right spirit so that you treat it as a means to grow and not quit. Criticism is often rooted in truth, though it may not be conveyed in an ideal manner. Avoid dwelling over it but ensure that you work to improve on your mistakes.

Be patient

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Miracles don’t happen overnight. You need to work hard consistently and not compare yourself with others. Some may take less time to improve whereas others make take longer. Do not expect things to change in a jiffy. Channelize your efforts properly and you will definitely see yourself getting rid of the fear of public speaking with the passage of time.

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