Glossophobia, or the fear of public speaking, can range in intensity from moderate anxiety to a full-blown, devastating disease that can seriously affect your professional life. According to the National Social Anxiety Centre, Glossophobia is the most prevalent phobia, even more widespread than the dread of death, and it affects around 73 % of the population.
However, for the vast majority of people, public speaking is unavoidable. While salespeople, marketers, managers, and those in high-profile leadership roles are more likely to be in front of a crowd, even the most secluded researchers must submit their findings to a committee or colleagues at some time.
These 10 “tricks” or “hacks” for public speaking:
1. Make a list of your notes
That’s all there is to it. The less worried you are, the more prepared you are and the more comfortable with your content. While you don’t want to “read” the entire presentation, having some notes nearby can help you avoid getting a “brain freeze” in the middle of your presentation.
2. Arrive early.
3. Consider the worst-case scenario.
What exactly you are frightened about? Having trouble remembering your materials? Are you passing out? did you say something stupid? Peoples are assessing you only on the basis of your looks or habits? Try to come up with your own “worst-case scenario,” then develop a hypothetical plan in your head for what to do if it happens (it very certainly won’t, but that’s not the point).
4. Concentrate on the content
If you’re concerned about how people will view (our evaluate) you, you should strive extra hard to focus solely on your substance and thoughts. Rather than allowing your thoughts to stray to your shaky voice or sweaty fingers, or even the crowd in front of you, keep your attention on your subject. After all, there must be a solid reason you’re speaking about a specific topic, so recall your enthusiasm for it and don’t let your thoughts stray to worries that could make you feel self-conscious or even self-aware.
5. Become familiar with a few relaxing techniques.
- Sit with your back straight and your feet flat on the floor in a comfortable position.
- Count to 4 or 5 as you inhale from your abdomen.
- 5 seconds of holding your breath
- Count for 8 or 10 seconds as you exhale.
- Repeat at least ten times or until your heart rate begins to decrease.
6. Take a breather before speaking.
7. Before you go on stage, talk to someone in the audience.
Before you begin your presentation, identify at least one person in the audience, preferably a colleague, with whom you can converse, perhaps even bringing up some of the topics you’ll be discussing in your speech.
- Imagine that when you take the platform, you’re just carrying on a discussion with this individual.
- You may feel less uncomfortable if you humanize your listeners or personalize your message.
- This is especially useful if you’re speaking to a big group of people who, to someone afraid of public speaking, might appear to be a sea of frightening faces and judging eyes all focused on you (which, of course, they aren’t).
8. Get the audience involved.
Turning your presentation into a discussion rather than a speech is another approach to “humanize” your audience.
Because the back-and-forth interaction will immediately set your mind at ease and make it feel like you’re discussing with the audience. Rather than being the only focus in the room, this is one of the greatest methods to calm down in front of you in a group.
9. Keep in mind that it’s not all about you.
The majority of people who are afraid of public speaking (the majority of the population!) have the illogical belief that every person in the audience is hyper-focused on them, scrutinizing every phrase, move, gesture, nervous tick, piece of clothing, feature, crack in their voice, and so on. Before you go in front of a group. Remind yourself that your sense of the audience’s focus on you is just that – a perception. They aren’t quite as concerned with your every action as you believe.
10. Don’t try to control your nerves.
- Adrenaline is your body’s natural emergency reaction system, as most people will know.
- When it detects an impending threat, it sends your body into overdrive.
- While we all know that giving a PowerPoint presentation isn’t a life-threatening circumstance (for the most part). The adrenaline coursing through your nervous system causes the same physiological response as if you were in genuine danger.
Your racing heart, antiseptic, and shivering hands. A shaky voice and jiggling boughs are all hands that adrenaline is preparing you for a battle. Just as nature intended. Rather than allowing these bad sensations to overwhelm you and divert your attention out from your work. Accept them as your body’s natural approach of preparing you for being huge and significant! Rather than resisting your instincts, embrace them, understand them, and even use them to your benefit.
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