Tips To Overcome Speaking Fears

Most people have a fear of speaking to a large group. This is a totally normal apprehension. People may visualise the audience laughing at them, or shouting out. This is an extremely rare occurrence, unless you are a politician.

Most people listening to you are aware of the pressures you are under and would never change places with you.

These guidelines will help you to overcome your fears.

1. Know your subject. Read through your presentation beforehand. Read around the subject, so that you are confident that you know more than your audience, even after you have spoken. If you know your subject then you will come across in an interesting way and keep the attention of your audience.

2. Expect to do well. Your expectations are obvious in your body language. If your audience sees that you expect to do badly, you will do badly. Expectation is vital.

3. Look at your audience. Eye contact is vital if you are to judge their understanding so that you can change the pace of your delivery if necessary.

4. Use notes. You should never, never read your speech from a sheet.

5. Slow your speech down. This makes you appear more confident and enables your audience to take it in more easily. If you are talking slower, it is easier for your audience to maintain their attention, and momentary lapses in their concentration mean that they miss less.

6. Vary the tone and level of your voice. This maintains interest. You should speak clearly and project your voice, rather than shouting. Talking quietly in key segments means that your listeners will need to actively listen to those parts of your presentation.

7. Avoid excessive body movements and gestures. Hand gestures can be used for emphasis only.

8. Keep your hands and thumbs visible. Holding your hands out, with the thumbs uppermost is a very powerful dominance gesture. Watch politicians speaking, they all use this gesture.

9. Rejoice in the endorphin high that you will feel when it goes well.

For more information on public speaking, check out Toastmasters

To your success as a public speaker!!

Fran Watson

P.S. You can get a copy of over 800 speech topics here

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