Public speaking is something we all must face throughout our careers and lives. However, even though it is such a common task to do, it is feared by most people. Rushing, stiffness in body language, presenting too much material or reading from your slides are common mistakes made when you are too nervous while presenting and these mistakes can cause damage to your presentation overall.
But fear not! Overcoming your fear of speaking in public isn’t as hard as you might think. Here are 5 ways how to overcome your fear of public speaking:
1. Prepare thoroughly
This doesn’t need much of an explanation. The audience will recognise soon enough how much you prepared for your speech and how much you know about your topic, which gives either a good or bad light on your presentation. To be fully prepared means that you know your materials so well that you don’t have to think about them. It also means that you have planned all the logistics beforehand so you won’t have any problems with video links or audio while presenting, for example.
2. Practice as much as possible
This point may not come as a surprise, but it is one of the most important ones. After preparing you must practice your presentation, not only once but as many times as you need to be fully confident. While doing a dry run, focus on your tempo while speaking, avoid heavy breathing or too many pauses and test yourself about your knowledge of your material. Try to speak freely instead of reading from your slides. Once you feel confident enough with your presentation skills, perform it in front of friends or family members. Try to figure out what you’re doing different than before and if it somehow effects your speech negatively. Get feedback from others, accept it and if try to improve.
3. Work on your breathing
Controlling your breathing really helps to calm your mind. Before your presentation starts you might notice you have fast and shallow breaths. Try to take longer and deeper breaths in order to calm your mind and emotions.
4. Eliminate fear of rejection
Although this doesn’t sound easy, try not to focus on your fear but instead on your new confidence levels you have created with the steps before. Relax and focus on your new knowledge and materials you’ve prepared. Remember the audience is here for a reason- they are interested in what you have to say, they want to be there. Try to avoid too much stiffness and create a speed limit, focus on your breathing. If you keep all these things in mind there is really no need to be nervous.
5. Believe in yourself
Last but not least trust and believe in yourself. With all your hard work over the past few days/ weeks you are now fully prepared and can not only overcome your fear of failure but also you have gained new confidence and presentation skills and strategies, which may help you in all kind of situations in life. Making small mistakes such as forgetting a word or speaking quickly at the beginning are totally normal, so don’t worry too much about these. In the end we are all human beings.