Have you ever prepared well for a presentation and when the time came to speak, not a word came out of your mouth? Have you ever developed cold feet when you had to anchor a program in a community gathering? How many times have you felt nervous while presenting simple information? If you have answers to any of these questions in an affirmative, then you are one of the many who has a fear of speaking in public.
Many a time even though people are well -read and extremely knowledgeable fail to make an impact in their chosen fields simply because they are not confident of presenting themselves in public. The moment they are asked to speak on a public platform or make a presentation, they get the jitters and clam up. The cause of not be successful orators is a deep-rooted problem, which can easily do away with the right approach and the determination to overcome this drawback.
Though a lot has been said and written about this problem, overcoming this fear of speaking in front of an audience, big or small has to be dealt with in a systematic and patient way. It is not a fear that will disappear overnight by just reading a few tips or attending a few counseling sessions or taking a public speaking course. It is an amalgamation of all these solutions put together along with a lot of hard work and the burning desire to succeed. You are the most important person who can make all of this happen with some external help. You need to train your brain to be receptive to overcoming your weakness and fear and slowly and gradually gain confidence and create a new benchmark for yourself. Here are a few guidelines which will definitely help to make the process a little easier-
Make a small start
Since you know you have a problem speaking in front of big audiences, you should try to start in front of a smaller and familiar group of family or friends. Having familiar faces in front of you will not intimidate you and the flow of your words will not get interrupted. Also, speak on a topic which you know much about, so that if you do forget something you can easily improvise on the spot.
Prepare well in advance
Like any other activity, preparing well in advance will give you more confidence in the content part. If you know your content well half the battle is won. Not being prepared can worsen the situation when you reach the podium and don’t know what to say. Rehearsing several times in front of someone who can prompt you later is very helpful. Also, remember to prepare your content in such a manner that it interests the audience and you can connect with them immediately.
Try not to memorize
Public speaking is an art and it definitely cannot be mastered by memorizing a few sentences or a couple of paragraphs. It is something which has to come from within and you have to first connect yourself with the content that you need to deliver. Memorizing your speech is definitely not a good idea because if you end up forgetting a few lines in between you will completely lose hold over the entire speech. Remembering key points and keywords is the way to master the art of public speaking.
Keep calm and don’t be tensed
Until the time you finish your speech you are bound to be under tremendous stress. This needs to be avoided. The best way to overcome this stress is through positive reinforcement and visualizing a successful outcome. This can be accomplished by staying calm, meditating and applying a few deep -breathing techniques that are helpful in reducing stress and making you feel more confident.
Make it interactive
If you want to make your speech a greater success, the engaging your audience by asking them to be more interactive or making them answer questions during your presentation is a wonderful way to feel comfortable in the limelight without getting afraid.
These are a few tips which can be practiced on your own. Taking the help of professionals in this field who organize special public speaking classes can be of great help and you will be able to overcome your fears of speaking in front of an audience even faster.