25 Feb 2016.


Overcome Public Speaking Anxiety





To some people, speaking in public is a daunting affair. Such persons usually go to great lengths to avoid giving speeches.



Causes of public speaking fear


The fear of speaking in public is known as Glossophobia, and is rooted in social phobia. It stems from the fear of being judged. In a perfect world, you should deliver a loud, coherent speech but doubts of your ability and hundreds of eyes on you create a fear that is difficult to shake. Modern day lifestyle also contributes to fear of public speaking. Consider the following:

  • Most people spend their time online, where they are not required to speak in front of anyone. As a result, they are not used to being judged or speaking in public.
  • Work related communication does not encourage public speaking. When you get used to sending emails and texting, you do not worry about judgment. This is a problem for upcoming public speakers because it means less experience.



Reducing public speaking anxiety


It is common to feel some anxiety before speaking in public; even the best public speakers feel it. Therefore, you should not expect to be completely free of it. Just let the anxiety fuel you into delivering a great speech. When you start feeling anxious, take deep breaths and count to five. Doing so will help you to stay in the moment. You can also carry a small item and squeeze it during the speech.


Overcome Public Speaking Anxiety
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Before the speech


Practice thoroughly


Practicing is important and should be done properly. Practice the lines of your speech so that you do not forget. Practicing makes speaking instinctive. Practicing makes you more familiar with the speech and speaking up so that you can have an easier time finding your way if you are derailed. Do not over prepare, just practice until you know your speech inside out.



Visualization and Relaxation Techniques


Next, you need to get used to any fears that you might have. This step should come after you have practiced thoroughly. Picture yourself standing in front of a huge crowd of people who are judging you. Envision dissatisfied faces and other things that make you anxious. When you start feeling some anxiety, sweating and increased heart rate, take some deep breaths and try to relax. Imagine that the people who are frowning love your speech then calm yourself until you feel better. If you manage to finish your speech without getting distracted by the unsmiling faces that you picture, you are ready.



On the Day of the Speech


Do things that help you to control anxiety. You must have a full night’s sleep before attempting to give any speech. Prepare everything in advance to make sure that there is no last minute rush. You can try to practice the speech once more and repeat the visualization techniques. If you wish, integrate relaxation strategies such as yoga and meditation to make you calm. The less anxiety you feel, the better your speech will be. Finally, remember that what others think does not matter. You have done all you can and are ready.



During the speech


When speaking, integrate the following strategies:

  • Start strong – be as loud as you can at the beginning of the speech. This sets a nice pace for the rest of it. A great start can be humor – you can flow with your crowd with great sense of humor, another idea is “Ask the crowd a question” tactic to keep them interested and focused on your speech.
  • Do not look at others – do not look at specific faces. Let your eyes roam around the room without looking at anyone in particular.
  • Do not worry about stumbling – your speech will not be perfect; perfection takes years of practice to achieve.
  • Smile. Show that you know what you are talking about and spread a great vibe (along with humor), it creates an image of a highly self confidence person.


After the Speech


What you do after a speech affects your ability to handle the next one. If you sit in a corner and mull over things that went wrong, it will affect your next speech negatively.



Overcoming Public Speaking and Anxiety


You can recover from the fear of speaking in public.

If you use the above tips, you will have an easier time during your next speech. However, if you suffer from regular anxiety, try to control it. Because anxiety is cumulative, those with anxiety problems have a harder time speaking in public.

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