Do you get nervous when you think about having to speak in public? Most people do! It's natural to feel some public speaking anxiety when you're put in a situation where you have to perform in front of others. However, there are ways that you can overcome your fear and become a successful public speaker. In this blog post, we will discuss some tips that will help you succeed when speaking in public!
Step 1: Understand why you have public speaking anxiety
Many people are afraid of public speaking, and there are a number of reasons why this fear may develop. For some, public speaking anxiety may be due to a previous negative experience, such as being laughed at or feeling like they were not well-prepared. For others, it may be a more general fear of being judged or evaluated by others.
Whatever the cause of your public speaking anxiety, it is important to understand why you are afraid of public speaking in order to overcome this fear. Once you know the source of your fear, you can begin to address it by developing helpful coping mechanisms.
For example, if you are afraid of being judged, you can practice relaxation techniques or positive self-talk to help ease your anxiety. If you are afraid of being unprepared, you can get some extra practice in. Public speaking doesn't need to be stressful, and you can take steps to mitigate the physical symptoms of your anxiety.
Are the fears of intimacy and public speaking connected?
It's no surprise that many people find public speaking and intimate relationships to both be daunting experiences. After all, both situations involve revealing a side of ourselves that we may feel is vulnerable. Sexual intimacy in a physical relationship or any romantic relationships can bring out many of the same fears.
In fact, there is scientific evidence to suggest that the fear of public speaking and the fear of intimacy are connected. Both fears activate the amygdala, a region of the brain involved in processing fear. If you're a survivor of sexual abuse, fearing intimacy is natural, and your anxiety-related behaviors come out because of an underlying fear.
The fear of rejection can be fixed with exposure therapy
Moreover, both underlying fears are often rooted in a fear of rejection. When we feel exposed in front of others, we may worry that they will judge or reject us. Similarly, when we open ourselves up to intimacy, we may fear that our partner will not reciprocate our feelings. However, it is possible to learn to manage these fears and build more fulfilling relationships with others.
Someone who fears intimacy may struggle with self esteem. Luckily, treating public speaking anxiety may also help you with any other anxiety disorders, and soothe your fight or flight response and other physical symptoms during social connections.
Soothing social anxiety
The best thing you can do to help your social anxiety is seek out help. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) has a specific definition for social anxiety disorder, and if you meet that standard, you should really seek out help. Places like the National Social Anxiety Center can help you find resources to improve your self esteem and soothe your fear of public speaking.
Step 2: Prepare mentally and emotionally for any public speaking
Delivering a speech can be a daunting task, even for experienced public speaking experts. But with a little preparation, you can mental and emotional prepare yourself to give a great speech.
First, it's important to understand your audience. Who will be listening to your speech? What are their needs and expectations? Once you have a good understanding of your audience, you can begin to craft your message. What points do you want to communicate? What stories can you share to illustrate your points?
It's also important to be aware of your own emotions. Are you feeling nervous or anxious about speaking? If so, that's normal! Just take a few deep breaths and remind yourself that you know your material inside and out. You've got this!
Finally, focus on what you want to say. Write out your speech or create an outline so that you know exactly what you'll be talking about. This will help you be prepared even when you're nervous.
Step 3: Practice, practice, practice
When it comes to giving a presentation, practice makes perfect. But how do you go about practicing? Here are a few tips to help you make the most of your practice time:
1. Create an outline of your presentation. This will help you structure your thoughts and ensure that you cover all the important points.
2. Time yourself. Once you have your outline, time yourself giving the entire presentation. This will help you gauge how long your presentation should be and ensure that you stay within the allotted time limit.
3. Find a practice audience. It can be helpful to practice in front of an audience, even if it's just a few friends or family members. This will help you get used to speaking in front of people. Plus, they'll promise not to tease you.
Make use of visual aids
Visual aids can be a great way to engage your audience and add interest to your presentation. When used effectively, they can help to clarify your points and make them more memorable. However, it's important to use visual aids judiciously, as too many can be distracting.
Choose graphics that are clear and easy to understand, and pair them with explanatory text to ensure that your audience stays on track. Remember that less is often more, so use visual aids sparingly to keep your audience engaged. With these tips in mind, you'll be sure to make the most of visual aids in your next presentation.
Be aware of your body language
When you're talking to someone, whether you know them or not, your body language speaks volumes. The same is true when you're giving a speech or presentation. In fact, body language is often more important than the words you actually say. That's because people are constantly looking for nonverbal cues to help them understand what you're saying.
If your body language is open and welcoming, they're more likely to believe what you're saying. But if your body language is tense and closed off, they'll be less likely to trust you. So, if you want your audience to believe in what you're saying, it's important to be aware of your body language. Make sure your shoulders are relaxed, your hands are open, and you make eye contact with folks.
You'll only ever see friendly faces, so let some of that social anxiety go while you're starting your public speaking adventure. A fear of public speaking is in your mind. If you have a deep interest in self-improvement, getting over your fear of public speaking is a great first step.
Step 4: Deal with nerves before and during your speech
Before you give your speech, it is important to deal with any nerves that you may be feeling. One way to do this is to visualization. Picture yourself giving your speech confidently and receiving a positive response from the audience. Another method is to take some deep breaths and focus on slow, steady exhales.
This will help to center yourself and calm your nerves. When you are giving your speech, it is also important to remain aware of your body language. Make sure that you are standing up straight and maintaining eye contact with your audience. These simple actions will help to project confidence and keep your nerves in check.
Step 5: Get a worry stone?
It'd be awfully bold of us to suggest our own products – but a worry stone might be just the ticket for you. Having something physical to touch or rub in my pocket has always helped me with my social anxiety. Other ideas for things to help your anxiety during public speaking:
- A fidget spinner or other fidget toy
- Keeping playdough in your pocket to squeeze
- Using a stress ball to help focus
- Including “Easter eggs” in your slides to remind you to smile (like a hidden cat picture)
- Sit. Standing can make anxiety worse, so if you've got rattling knees, grab that chair and own it.
- Take a longer pause than you think you need.