Do you have a fear of public speaking? You’re in excellent company. Some of the most intelligent people can stand in front of a crowd and become numb. Finding ways to express yourself even with an audience is an important tool to have for life. Many jobs and ministries require public speaking as part of what is expected.
The fear of public speaking is not uncommon. In order to overcome public speaking fear, there are some things you can do. Putting these steps into practice will help you gain the confidence you need to stand and speak. It is possible to face your fears and conquer them too.
1. Get a Large Mirror
Purchase a large full body mirror that you can stand in front of while you practice. Practice speaking to yourself out loud every morning and evening in front of the mirror. Notice your standing position, your posture, and overall appearance.
2. Use Your Trusted Friends
Gather a small group of your trusted friends and practice speaking in front of them. Stand at the front of the room and make a short presentation. Ask them the give you two positive corrective criticisms of your speech. The more you talk about it, the more you will face your fear of public speaking.
3. Join a Local Book Club
Find a local book club that you can join. Watch the speakers and take notes of what works and does not work for them. Take a turn speaking to this small group. It is informal so the expectations are not as high. Openly share your opinions on the books you are reading together. Learning to share ideas in a small group will help you overcome your public speaking fear.
4. Use Cue Cards
Purchase some index cards and write an outline of your speech on them. They will help you stay on task when your mind wanders while speaking. If your main public speaking fear is forgetting what you are discussing, this will alleviate it.
5. Study Up
Before your public speech, study up on what you are presenting. Know the information to the point where you are comfortable with it. Don’t speak on a topic that you don’t understand.
6. Teach Something
Look for an opportunity to volunteer to teach. Speaking in front of a class about a topic you understand will give you confidence. You will learn different ways to help others understand your lessons. The fear of public speaking can be overcome by teaching others.
7. Choose a Comfortable Outfit
Choosing the right clothes to wear will make all the difference in your public speaking. You need to be comfortable at all times. You do not need to worry over something pulling, shifting, or riding up. Wear your clothing before the speech for a practice run. Practice walking up stairs, sitting, and standing for longer periods of time. You do not want to be distracted by a bad clothing choice during your speech.
8. Choose the Right Shoes
Wearing shoes that are presentable and comfortable is pertinent. If your toes are pinched or the heels are slipping in the back, you just can not concentrate on your speech. The fear of public speaking increases when you are physically uncomfortable.
9. Have Good Hygiene
You want your hygiene top rate when you are in the public eye. Self-confidence goes out the door when you have bad breath. Make sure you have breath mints handy. In order to overcome public speaking fear, keep up those simple things like your teeth brushed, and your nails presentable.
10. Remember to Practice
Nothing beats practice. Practice your speech in advance of the date it is due. Hold your cue cards in your hands while you practice. You will get to the point that you no longer need them. You can continue to hold them for confidence, taking away your fear of public speaking.
11. Realize the Worst Thing
Remember that the worst thing to happen to you if you mess up a speech is an embarrassment. We are all embarrassed at some point in our life. Give yourself forgiveness when you stutter or have a hiccup. Understand that this happens to everyone.
Standing in front of a crowd can be a scary thought. It can reduce a person no matter their status or job description. Knowing how to overcome it will increase your job earning potential and effectiveness as a leader.
The fear of public speaking can be overcome. Try these steps out and repeat them until you gain the confidence you need. You may even learn to love speaking in public over time.