Fear of Speaking – Public Presentation Anxiety? Panic No More!

Is it really possible to overcome the fear of speaking, public presentation anxiety and learn to panic no more when in front of an audience?

Let’s admit it: Most of us dread the thought of speaking before others. Some people have even ranked their fear of speaking, public presentation anxiety and the very thought of being in front of others above their fear of death! However you might feel about it yourself, there are good reasons why you should be interested in public speaking.

It is pretty safe to say that public speaking is a skill that everyone needs. Yes, sooner or later, you may have to face an audience. You may be called on to teach a class of co-workers, pitch a proposal to a client, or explain a financial report to managers.

Actually, speaking skills are essential in a wide range of jobs, including journalism, management, public relations, sales and marketing.

What, though, if your fear of speaking, public presentations etc is so intense and relentless, that you choose your career so that you can eliminate all the chances of you having to step in front of an audience? Well, what about a job interview? Being able to speak well on a job interview may mean the difference between getting hired or not. On the job itself, your ability to express yourself can work in your favour. It may even mean a better job, higher pay, or at least more respect.

Learning good speaking skills can thus benefit you in a variety of ways. Even so, you may still feel anxious at the thought of getting up before an audience. Is there something you can do to overcome your anxiety? Yes, there is.

Tips for anxiety free public speaking:

Don’t be brilliant:

You don’t have to be brilliant or perfect to succeed! The essence of public speaking is this: give your audience something of value. In other words, concentrate on the message, not on yourself or your own anxieties.

Talk, don’t perform:

Your speech should not be a performance. Rather, it should be a conversation. The more conversational your approach, the more relaxed you will be. Try to connect with your audience, not as a mass, but as individuals. Show a real “personal interest” in your audience, and speak the way you normally talk. The way to do this is not to speak to the audience! Instead; talk some time to a single person in the audience. Choose someone who looks friendly. Then, turn to another person and tell another thought to this person.

They don’t want you to fail:

A common reason for anxiety is fear of embarrassment or of being judged by your audience. Luckily the fact is that audiences tend to want you to succeed, not fail! They are on your side!

Nervousness is not all bad:

Contrary to popular belief nervousness is good for you and your presentation. Why is that? Because a measure of nervousness reflects modesty, which will help keep you from becoming overconfident. Many feel that a little nervous energy actually makes them perform better.

Talk, don’t read:

Use outline instead of written talk. That way it’s easier to maintain eye contact, and we speak more naturally and sound more conversational when we use an outline instead of writing things out word for word.

Be human:

Don’t be afraid to laugh at yourself. Everyone makes mistakes. You just have to try your best and if, or rather when, the mistake happens -take it easy; it can even work for your benefit: audience likes you even more after you have shown this human side and made that mistake. For sure a mistake or two does not make you less likable.

Practise man practise:

Of course, there is no substitute for experience and lots of practice. Prepare your speech far enough in advance so that you have enough time to practice. Talk it to someone. Not just to yourself, but to a friend, spouse, and a colleague.

Apply these skills. At least try them, and you will see that you can beat that fear of speaking, public presentation anxiety and possibly any social anxiety. And you will panic no more!