I’m sure most of us have had to do some form of public speaking before. Whether it was for a class presentation, an elevator pitch, or giving a speech. Regardless of when you had to use your public speaking skills, there’s a chance you experienced some sort of anxiety beforehand.
This anxiety can range from slight nervousness to paralyzing fear and panic. But don’t worry, you’re not alone! Most people aren’t comfortable with public speaking, and that’s okay! However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to improve your public speaking skills and overcome your fears.
So why does public speaking cause anxiety? What are some tips to help you overcome your fear of public speaking?
1. Why Does Public Speaking Cause Anxiety?
Fear of public speaking is not usually related to the quality of the speech you are giving. Instead, it’s usually caused by how the speaker feels, thinks, or acts when faced with speaking in public.
Fear of public speaking can be caused by reasons including:
- Your Perception: Perfection is a goal that very few if any, professional public speakers attain. Your audience will not expect perfection and neither should you.
- Self Consciousness: This is probably the most frequently named reason for performance anxiety. Many people are comfortable with very small groups but large groups then anxiety strikes.
- Fear of Being Judged: The tough-love message here is that people really don’t care about you. They’re in the audience to get something out of your lecture, presentation, speech, or talk.
- And More
Regardless of what causes your fear of public speaking, it’s important to remember that there are ways to overcome it.
2. Tips To Overcome Your Fear of Public Speaking
Know that we understand what causes fear of public speaking a bit better, let’s talk about some things you can do to overcome it.
- Get Organized: One of the best ways to reduce your anxiety when public speaking is to be prepared and organized. Ahead of time, carefully plan out the information you want to present, including any props, audio or visual aids. The more organized you are, the less nervous you’ll be. Try using an outline on a small card to stay on track, and write some encouraging messages on them to keep your spirits up!
- Practice In The Mirror: One of the best ways to improve your public speaking skills (and reduce your anxiety when public speaking) is by practicing in the mirror. You should practice your speech in front of the mirror as if you were speaking directly to someone. Pay attention to your facial expressions, your body language, and your overall demeanor. Try and plan out all the actions you plan to make and when that way you know exactly what you plan to do.
- Focus on Your Material, Not Your Audience: People mainly pay attention to new information — not how it’s presented. They may not notice your nervousness. If audience members do notice that you’re nervous, they may root for you and want your presentation to be a success. So it’s okay if you’re nervous, in fact, it’s completely normal! When you are well organized and practiced, you will be able to get your point across.
- Give Your Speech To Another Person: Another way to help reduce your anxiety when public speaking is by practicing in front of people beforehand. Speaking directly to another person will help relax you and give you experience with getting feedback from someone. If they have questions about your speech, it is likely that members of an audience will have the same questions.
The fear of public speaking is completely normal, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t things you can do to improve your skills and grow. With preparation and persistence, you can overcome your fear. You may even discover that you enjoy public speaking!
Interested in learning some more tips on improving your public speaking skills? Get in contact with me! I would love to help you improve your public speaking and pitching skills so that you can thrive in any situation.