Are you scared of public speaking? Here are some tried and tested tips to help you overcome your fears and perform to the best of your ability.
Put in the Preparation Time
Many speakers worry about forgetting what they want to say whilst on stage. Defeating this fear is completely under your own control. Work out exactly what it is you want to say and then practice, practice, practice. If you are really nervous, practicing your presentation ten, twenty or even thirty times can create a real sense of confidence.
Don’t allow yourself to dwell on negative thoughts about a forthcoming presentation. When you catch yourself thinking negatively, replace the thought with a powerful, positive image of you succeeding in the presentation. Take a tip from elite athletes and try spending fifteen minutes each day, sitting with your eyes closed and visualising the successful completion of your speech from beginning to end. It works because your subconscious can’t tell the difference between a real and imagined experience. So, see, hear a feel yourself giving a great presentation. Hear the words of the audience members as they congratulate you on a fantastic, interesting speech.
Take some Exercise
Exercising before a speech or presentation is a great way to relax the body and reduce nerves. Try going for a jog or even just a walk around the building before you go on stage. The endorphins released by your body, will give you a nice relaxed feeling that helps control the physiological symptoms of public speaking fear.
Meet the Audience
Meeting the audience before a speech can really help to calm your fears. You will see that they are not the ‘audience monsters’ you imagination might otherwise create! Take time to shake hands with people as they arrive and exchange a few words. Remember – a stranger is just a friend you haven’t met yet.
Make Eye Contact
Making eye contact helps you to realise that you are having a conversation with lots of other individuals rather than an impersonal ‘audience’. Start by making eye contact with some of the people you already know or those you met before the presentation. They want you to succeed!
Record your success
When you’ve completed your presentation, make a note of how it went. How you felt and how you can improve. Look back at your diary before your next speech and reflect on the fact that you did it before and you will do it again.
Set Positive Goals
Finally, resolve to break out of the vicious cycle of public speaking fear by setting a positive goal to become a competent, confident speaker. Find ways to develop your new interest. Read blogs, books and join Toastmasters International.