In a survey done by Dr. Laurie Rozakis, author of Idiots Guide to Public Speaking, it was found that many people are scared to speak before a group. It is the number one fear among Americans, “–and the number 6 is fear of death,” according to Dr. Rozakis.
Even the most experienced speaker gets anxious when speaking in public. However, this fear can be controlled so that you can put your fear to your advantage. This topic teaches us why people are nervous when speaking in front of a crowd and how you can conquer your fear.
FEAR OF THE AUDIENCE
People are afraid of rejection by their audience. Thus, many are terrified of speaking in public for fear of being criticized by the crowd for how they look or how they deliver their speech. On the contrary, audiences are very understanding about the speaker’s problem with stage fright. You become more nervous when your fear of the audience increases.
Below are some strategies that can help you overcome your fear of the audience.
- Choose a topic that you like and you are familiar with. The more comfortable you are about your chosen topic, the more confident you are in facing your audience.
- Concentrate on your topic. Focus on your topic and not on yourself. When you start to think of your subject matter and not yourself, your fear of speaking will likely decrease.
- Say to yourself: “I am the BOSS.” Trust in your capability of delivering your speech. Showing that you are in charge decreases your fear and increases your confidence in facing the situation.
- Don’t think of your audience as a threat. Bridge the gap between your audience and yourself. Analyze carefully to establish rapport. You should consider age, gender and their level of expertise. Remember to analyze your audience.
FEAR OF FAILURE
There are two ways to win over your fear of failure.
- Picture yourself succeeding. If you think that you will stutter in front of many people, chances are you will stutter. But if you visualize yourself delivering your speech well, then, you will.
- Face your fear. You cannot overcome your fear unless you show it and admit that you are afraid of it.
FEAR THAT YOUR SPEECH IS A BAD SPEECH
- Write well. Take time to write your speech. Review it and rewrite if necessary. If you are confident with your speech, the less terrified you will be about speaking in public.
- Practice and ask for suggestions on how you can improve your speech. Ask a friend of relative to act as your audience. Once you have delivered your topic, ask for their feedback. Don’t be afraid to hear about what they will say. Their feedback can give you insight on what is good or bad in your speech.
Toastmasters is a great place to learn and practice your speaking skills. You will be surrounded by people who want to help you succeed and who are willing to share their knowledge and expertise with you while giving feedback on the things you did well and the things that could be improved.
There is probably a Toastmasters club near you. To find out, simply go to www.toastmasters.org and click on “find a club”. Invest in yourself and your future.
To your speaking success