By Jayaram V
An important aspect of public speaking is overcoming fear, nervousness
or lack of confidence. Even the most talented public speakers, experience
weak moments when they stand before an audience. However, they know
how to conceal it and regain their composure. The following suggestions
will help you deal with public speaking fear.
1. Plan the strategy: The purpose of a speech
may be to inform, to persuade or to entertain. Of this the last
one is more difficult, unless you have a natural talent to impress
people with your skills. Persuasion requires a softer, and convincing
approach, while informative speeches may be formal or technical
and require more focus upon facts and information. Emotion plays
an important role in all these, but it must be used with subtlety
2. Know your audience: A lot of success in public
speaking depends upon knowing what your audience wants or expects
from your speech, and what the purpose of speech is, and preparing
accordingly. The speech is not about you, but the audience. If it
helps them and if it is meaningful to them, they will appreciate
and may even ignore any drawback they may notice in your presentation.
3. Prepare: Prepare thoroughly, gathering as
much information as possible on the subject. The more time you spend
in preparation, the greater will be your control over the topic
and confidence in delivering it. Make sure that you manage your
time well during the presentation and your speech fits well within
the allotted time. If your audience comes from diverse background,
keep the cultural barriers and factors in mind, while you choose
your language, words and expressions.
4. Practice: Preparation is the first part and
practice or rehearsing is the second. Practice as much as possible.
Read your speech aloud. If necessary, record it and listen to it
to notice the tonality and voice modulation. Rehearse your speech.
The more you practice your speech, the better will be your presentation.
5. Visualize: A lot of stress and fear associated
with public speaking can be overcome with the help of visualization.
Visualize the audience and speak to them. Visualize feeling confident
and delivering the speech with poise. Visualization helps you mentally
prepare for the occasion and subconsciously automate your actions
6. Attune your mind: On the day of the speech,
keep yourself in good spirits. The night before, make sure you sleep
well. Exercise to calm your nerves. Exercise will remove lethargy
from your body and increase blood flow to your brain, thereby helping
you feel active and energetic. If necessary, use affirmations and
avoid unnecessary distractions to boost your confidence and keep
the mind in a positive frame. If you are positive, it will show
in your speech and demeanor.
7. Connect with the audience: On the stage,
check all your equipment. Make sure everything is working. Keep
a bottle of water and use it only when there is an interruption
or when you are not speaking. To improve audience response, pay
attention to your body language, maintain a good posture, dress
properly, avoid clichÃ©s and mannerisms, walk around in a relaxed
manner, use examples and case studies, ask questions, keep smiling
and maintain eye contact with the audience. Pace your voice, with
pauses so that if you are nervous it will not show.
8. Let the audience know you: It is very important
that you are properly introduced to the audience before you begin
your speech, or speak briefly about yourself, summing up your major
achievements and experience or professional knowledge in the field
or the subject. If you are already known to them, you can bring
to their attention the previous occasions when you spoke to them
and mention a few details just to refresh their memory.
9. Post presentation steps: After the speech
is over, get feedback from the people. Look for their response and
nonverbal cues. Check your own performance, and whether you have
met your objectives. If it has been filmed, watch the video. Learn
from the experience and see where you can improve further.
10. Learn from others: Improve your knowledge
of public speaking by reading books about the subject, seeking mentors,
watching others and learning from them. At the end of this article,
we have included a few important books and resources, which you
may find to be useful to improve your skills.
Books on Fearkess
The Quick and Easy Way to Effective Speaking
How to Develop Self-Confidence and Influence People by Public Speaking
How to Develop Self-Confidence And Influence People By Public Speaking
Transformational Speaking: If You Want to Change the World, Tell
a Better Story
Public Speaking for Success: The Complete Program, Revised and Updated
Stage Fight: How to Punch Your Fears of Public Speaking in the Face!
TED Talks: The Official TED Guide to Public Speaking
Fearless Speaking: Beat Your Anxiety. Build Your Confidence. Change
Public Speaking for Kids, Tweens, and Teens - Confidence for Life!
Jayaram V is Founder President of Hinduwebsite.com and author
of 14 books including Think Success and Being the Best. For
more information about Jayaram and his works, you may
visit his author website.