You might be a wonderful writer, blessed with marvelous vocabulary, be an extrovert, gregarious and socially active person, but when it comes to public speaking or uttering a few words standing on a podium, you might feel as if you are hit by an avalanche or the world is coming to an end! Why is it so? Why do even the most intelligent of people start trembling at the thought of speaking in public?
Public Speaking: Why Are We Afraid?
Many reasons can be attributed to the fear of speaking in public or in a quorum. Firstly, we feel uncomfortable when so many expectant eyes are looking at us. Secondly, we are scared that we might be at a loss of words and cut a sorry figure. Thirdly, the fear of rejection by the audience works as a dampener. The speculation that one or all of these could happen makes us feel jittery. On the other hand, there are some who are not good orators, but still show no fear on stage. However, they fail to make an impact on the audience. To be called a good orator, you need to be knowledgeable about the topic and be fearless too.
To conquer public speaking fear, certain methods need to be employed. First and foremost, look at things practically. Your listeners are human beings too and are keen to listen to you and applaud your efforts, instead of mocking you. Hence, the onus is on you to live up to their expectation and hold their attention as long as you speak. The secret lies in researching your subject well but concentrating on two or three items thoroughly instead of trying to cover every aspect and fumbling.
Prepared speeches are easier to handle than speaking impromptu, which needs good vocabulary and skill sets. Best form of practice would be stand before a mirror and repeat the speech several times. With each practice, you will be able to improve your tempo, voice modulation, pace and utterance of words and clarity in diction. Make sure that the speech is neither too long nor too short. Listeners are wary of long speeches and short speeches create less or no impact.
Try to dress according to the situation and present a neat look when on the stage. Carry the devices audio-visual tools – if any, needed for your speech and use them with confidence at the right time. While using the tools, look at the audience and not at the tools. Before commencing your talk, take a deep breath, calm your nerves and take in the audience. Start slowly and deliberately and as you progress, you will discover that your fears are melting away and you are enjoying the rapt attention of the audience. Follow these tips and you’ll be well on your way to conquering your fear of public speaking.
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