It might be fair to admit we all probably share a few common fears like flying, heights, or fear of the dark. Avoidance can be an easy solution to our fears. If we’re afraid of flying, then we are likely to drive instead of buying a ticket for an airplane or if we’re afraid of heights then taking up mountain climbing may not be our top choice of activities.
But what if avoidance isn’t an option because your fear is an activity included in your job responsibilities? Yep, we’re talking about the fear of public speaking or the more scientific term “glossophobia”. For some of us, the mere mention of this responsibility can make hearts race and palms sweat.
Public speaking can instill fear in all of us, even the most seasoned speakers. Nonprofit consulting services are a great resource to help clients through these sometimes uncomfortable situations. There are some tips and tricks to employ, though, that can ease you through these daunting events and guide you toward becoming a public speaker exhibiting knowledge and grace. And a much slower heart rate.
Public speaking comes in many forms. A best man’s toast, speaking with the media, or thanking a large group of people. Sometimes you have to make an extensive presentation or you’re doing an interview for your local radio station.
Each can contribute to the level of fear you experience, but the common denominator is preparation. You simply have to know what you are going to say. Lack of preparation will only contribute to the anxiety you are already feeling.
Now that you have prepared what you are going to say or present, remember to cut yourself some slack. We all make mistakes and most people observing will sympathize with you should this happen. That being said, it will definitely show if you are underprepared as well.
Remember that old joke “Pardon me, can you tell me how to get to Carnegie Hall?” The answer is: Practice. Practice. Practice. The same applies to public speaking. It is essential that you practice what you intend to say so that you can establish your cadence, pronunciations, and inflections. Know your subject, know your audience and in time practicing will help you leave out the “you knows” and the “ums”. The more you practice, the more you will feel at ease with each word.
If you are on stage delivering an important speech the last thing you want to think about is your tie being too tight, or your wool sweater too scratchy. Your physical comfort will contribute to feeling relaxed so you can concentrate on your presentation rather than loosening your tie. Preparation includes more than just practicing your speech.
Pay close attention to what you are wearing and the tools around you. Before taking the stage, if you have the ability, move your shoulders up and down and jiggle your arms and hands. A few slow deep breaths can work wonders to alleviate your nerves as well.
Once you begin your presentation don’t be afraid to use your body language. If you appear stiff and immoveable then the audience will notice this rather than concentrate on your speech. Casual hand gesturing and even walking around, if the situation allows, can contribute to your connection with the audience as well.
And lastly, make eye contact. It doesn’t matter if it’s an audience of five or 500, there is no surer way to connect with people than by making eye contact. This creates an intimate, human connection and can convince an audience of the significance of your words.
If you are, then let that be the driving force to help you prepare what you have to say in front of an audience. Fear and anxiety about public speaking are normal and can affect anyone, but by implementing the tips above and of course, practicing, you’ll be sure to become more and more proficient at it. If you’re looking for more assistance on public speaking, reach out to us at KM Clark Consulting. We have years of experience with public speaking and… actually enjoy it! Let us help you find a place where you can enjoy public speaking as well!