Does the thought, yes just the thought, of public speaking scare the “bleep” out of you? Turns out you’re not alone. Some of the strongest professionals I know fear public speaking. For so many just uttering the term public speaking sends them running from the room. To this day I am reminded of the time I had to speak to a large room full of spouses. I was familiar with the location, client and information. And after the intro it was my turn. I got up to the podium and as luck would have it I was frozen in my tracks. Not able to find my voice and articulate one single word.
Public speaking can take the most self-assured and poised person and turn them into a ball of nerves. No matter the kind of speech; lecture, management, social or corporate. Getting up in front of a crowd of people can bring on the nerves producing a dry mouth, pounding heart and an attack of the sweats. Being nervous is actually considered the norm. So I guess that means I’m pretty normal. Some say it proves how much you care and want to succeed. And the need to excel and be successful causes uneasiness and fear.
Fear of Public Speaking? You’re Not Alone
We’re not alone when it comes to fear of public speaking. So many of us will do whatever it takes to avoid getting up in front of a group and speaking. And includes avoiding a job, career or certain situations. For me it started in high school and hung on for a very long while. Until that group of spouses made me take a long look at myself and career. I wondered how I would ever stand out especially as an event planner if I couldn’t tackle my fear. Literally making me take the bull by the horns and take steps to help me be able to speak in public.
The truth is that for every person, it makes no difference the number of speeches under the belt. We all feel that kind of panicky, anxious, nervous feeling before giving a speech or talk. Even now most times my nerves don’t subside until I’m well into my address. It has taken time and lots of it as well as hard work to overcome my public speaking jitters. And if I can do it you can too.
7 Tips to Getting Over Public Speaking Jitters
First and foremost I learned that public speaking is a skill, a learned ability. And it takes time to understand and overcome the fear. No matter what you do for a living, the talent to get up and speak to a crowd will take you far. We thought this topic was the perfect opportunity to reach out to our experienced mastertheevent’ers for their top tips to overcoming this very real fear.
Understand the Audience – Prior to putting the speech together ask yourself some questions; “Why are you speaking?” “Why is the crowd there?” and “What is the take away?”
Tailor the Speech Based on What You Know – It’s been proven when we feel at ease and comfortable we are at our calmest. And while a speech can’t solely be about you and what you know it can certainly be the base. Do your research but always ensure you are familiar with the subject and theme.
Practice, Practice, Practice – The more you practice the more you will become acquainted and aware of the speech. Do a rehearsal and dry run using a video camera. It’s the perfect way to grasp whether you are doing it with the confidence and assurance needed to get your message across.
Get There Early – Give yourself extra time. Arrive early. Get a sense of the atmosphere and experience. Check out the space, capacity and tools. The more knowledge you have, the more at ease you’ll feel and the less nervous you will be.
Repeat, Repeat, Repeat – The more you say your speech the more familiar you become with it. And at the same time the less overwhelming or frightening it will be. Visualizing yourself on stage performing your speech is a great tool and confidence builder.
Never Read Your Speech – The worst thing for an audience you can do is get up there and just read your speech. After all that practice and repeating we should be able to get up there, give it our all and deliver. And in the end give the audience exactly what they’re waiting for. Bullet proof notes as a reminder are fine; entirely written out word for word speeches are a definite no-no.
Be YOU – When it comes to public speaking, one of the most important tips is be yourself. It may sound obvious. But the more you are like your real self, the more your confidence and belief in your skill will form. And the more you and the crowd will connect.