Public speaking is a common fear, but luckily it can be overcome. Here are some tips that will help you get better at it.
Being able to speak with confidence in public is an important skill that can help you get ahead in life. Whether that means giving a speech to a large group of people or sharing your ideas in a meeting, knowing how to get in front of people and get your point across is valuable. Yet, many people are absolutely terrified to open their mouths in front of a crowd.
Luckily, like any skill, your public speaking ability can be improved. Try one of these techniques to calm your nerves and face your fear head-on. Remember, the more you practice public speaking, the more you will improve.
Understand Your Fear
To understand your fear of public speaking and where it comes from, you need to engage in some self-reflection. What are you really afraid of? For some people, public speaking is frightening because they believe they aren’t good at it or that their speech will not be interesting. If this sounds like you, then you need to work on building confidence as a speaker.
Other people might fear that they won’t communicate their ideas well enough to be clearly understood or they might even think they are too stupid for their words to matter. If this sounds like you, then work on building your knowledge and increasing your confidence in your area of expertise.
Calm Your Body
Anxiety can manifest itself in a variety of physical symptoms, such as sweating, a racing heart, or even trembling. Often, by addressing these physical symptoms head-on, you can alleviate some of your stress.
Exercise can also be a great outlet for relieving stress and anxiety. Next time you anticipate speaking in public, try going for a jog or do some jumping jacks in your office first. Meditation can also help to calm your body and mind. If exercise doesn’t do the trick, try a five-minute meditation before you speak. Finally, remember to give yourself a few slow, deep breaths before you speak. Deep breathing will calm your nervous system and help you perform at your best.
Prepare Your Mind
Feeling nervous about what you’re going to say? The best thing you can do is over-prepare for your speech. Write down what you want to say and practice saying it out loud several times. You might even want to take a video of yourself practicing your speech or you can try practicing in front of a supportive friend or spouse.
If you feel well-rehearsed and knowledgeable on your topic before you get up to speak, you’ll have a clear, prepared mind and one less thing to feel nervous about.
The last step to overcoming your fear of public speaking is simply letting go of fear. If you make a mistake, what’s the worst thing that could happen? Remember, most people are more focused on themselves than they are on you. Moments in your life that felt excruciatingly embarrassing to you may not even have been a blip on the radar to the people who witnessed them.
Resolve to let go of your fear and embrace the present moment as you speak. Let yourself be excited and passionate about the material you’re presenting. At the end of the day, people will remember more about how you made them feel than exactly what you said.
About Jenelle Kim
Dr. Jenelle Kim is an author and motivational speaker who integrates East Asian wisdom and traditions with modern Western knowledge and experiences to encourage her clients to live their best lives. Dr. Kim has a Master of Science Degree in Traditional Oriental Medicine (MSTOM) and is nationally board certiﬁed in herbology, Oriental medicine, and acupuncture. She has continued her studies abroad with some of the most respected doctors and herbalists in Asia.