Are you suffering from glossophobia (also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds)? Well, if your answer is yes, you need not worry about it as you are not the only one suffering from it. There are people, established speakers, who find it hard to face large crowds. As you begin to move towards the spotlight, the body starts to feel heavier with each step. Such feeling can also erupt long before you need to be in front of the crowd.
It is said that this feeling is due to a chemical, known as adrenaline, released by a part of our brain which acts as a defense mechanism.
Let us go through a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:
1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically
Never let the audience know about your anxiety. Be prepared beforehand and arrive confidently on the stage to have a lasting impression.
If you feel nervous, exercise lightly before a presentation and practice some mental exercises to send more oxygen to the brain. This will help to calm down your mind and nerves.
Try warming up. Before you start a presentation, it is better to release anxiety by doing a couple of stretches. You can also loosen up by opting for Neck and shoulder rolls for releasing tension. Stretch out your arms to reduce arm fatigue, and improve your body language range. Take breaks during presentation and rotate your wrist in a circular motion. These small exercises will help you to release unnecessary stress, increase muscle efficiency and improves reaction time and your movements.
- It is better to stay hydrated
Keep yourself hydrated by sipping water before you deliver a speech. We feel thirsty because the adrenaline from stage fear causes your mouth to get dry. Also, best is to have water and avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, as it will make you feel thirstier.
- Meditate for relaxation
Practice meditation to calm down your mind and body. Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you immense strength to focus and flushes out unwanted negativity and distractions from mind.
2. Keep your goals in mind
Some people with a fear of public speaking focus too much on themselves, their environment, audiences and the possibility of failure. Do not waste your time and energy thinking this way. Instead, shift your focus to make an impact and to educate your listeners on the topic.
It is very important to keep your focus at the right place. This will also help you to dig deeper into the topic.
3. Convert negativity to positivity
All of us constantly go through two kinds of emotions. One is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. While interacting with the crowd you need to keep “what if’s” aside. Try to say to yourself that “I will succeed in delivering the speech and will be able to make an impact.” Do not let the adrenaline kill your motivation, confidence and focus. Never show your downside to people around you.
4. Master your content
Go through the content multiple times before you deliver it finally before the audiences. Knowing your content at your fingertips can help you to reduce anxiety. Do not try to memorize it thoroughly, you just need to read it and understand each and every word so that you can deliver it in your own words and explain the concepts clearly.
5. Practice makes a man perfect
Public speaking requires a lot of practice. In the past, we came across speakers like John F. Kennedy, who are known to have worked for months preparing their speech beforehand. One needs to spend countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice to reach to the desired level of perfection.
6. Be authentic
Many people are scared of public speaking because they feel they will be judged for showing their true, authentic side to the audiences. Few people also try to copy or act like someone else and ruin the presentation without connecting with the audiences.
One needs to maintain their own style of speech and be more genuine, flexible and spontaneous to handle unpredictable situations like a technical snag or electricity failure.
7. Try to evaluate your speech
After you have delivered a presentation, applaud yourself and give a pat on your back. This is a great moment since you kept your insecurities and fears away from you. Always believe in yourself and you will succeed in all situations.
If you have had a bad experience, do not forget about it, learn from your mistakes and try to figure out where you went wrong. Next time when you plan to deliver a speech, make it perfect by improving it and try to overcome all flaws.
After delivering a speech, these are few questions that you can ask yourself:
- How did I perform?
- Where can I improve? Are there any areas?
- Was I too stressed?
- Was I confident and focused while speaking?
- Was my flow of speech and body language appropriate?
Mark the areas which you think need special attention and try to improve them as soon as possible. Keep practicing for your next session. Eventually, you’ll be able to overcome all your fears of public speaking and appear more confident and focused.