You are standing on a stage in front of a large audience. Your hands are shaking, your voice is not confident and you are forgetting your lines. After skipping several lines from your speech, now you worry about what the people in front of you are thinking. This makes you more nervous. The fear of failure decreases your level of confidence every second. The only thing you want right now is to finish your speech as soon as possible and go home.
Does this sound familiar? Many people regularly experience something similar. Fear of public speaking makes our lives harder and more awkward. However, fear is just an emotion like any other. Feeling fear is normal.
Public speaking is a skill, so you need to learn several techniques to enhance this skill and finally overcome the fear of public speaking.
Below are four tips that will help you overcome the fear of public speaking and enjoy that exciting process.
Practice makes perfect. You need to be prepared. This doesn’t only refer to knowing your speech lines, but also knowing what kind of gestures you are going to use during speaking, when you are going to have a pause, what kind of intonation and voice tone you are going to maintain. Remember, all of these matter if you want to be confident while speaking in front of many people.
Ask your friends to listen to your speech rehearsal and, most importantly, give feedback. The world’s best public speakers rehearse their speeches for weeks before the big day.
2. Be yourself
Many of us think that hiding our true self and having a fake confidence mask during public speeches will help us succeed. This belief is wrong: Be vulnerable.
Don’t be afraid of showing your personality and don’t be afraid of making mistakes. People want to feel connected to the speaker. Allow your audience to know your true self. Authenticity is one of the key tools in public speaking. Your main job is to inspire your audience with your speech, so let your voice inspire new thoughts and action by speaking from your heart.
3. Own your topic
You need to know your topic so well that you can answer any question the audience has that is related to your speech.
Let’s say you’re speaking about liberalism. Of course you know what kind of ideology it is, but you also need to know about the other political ideologies such as socialism or communism. Be flexible about your topic, read about some successful and unsuccessful examples, think about what kind of questions the audience might ask, and always start with the worst ones. In addition, DON’T memorize your speech, the best speakers just remember the key points of their topic, the rest will come up during your speech.
As long as you are comfortable with the topic you are going to deliver to your audience, you will be relaxed and confident.
4. Engage the audience
Instead of a monologue, have a two-way conversation with your audience by making an interactive and memorable presentation.
Nowadays, there are a variety of tools that you can use in your interactive presentation.
One of the most engaging and fun ways is to use an audience response system. ExciteM is a free audience polling tool that will make your presentation stand out. This tool has many advantages, such as engaging your audience and controlling their distraction.
You can make fun quizzes for your audience and they can use their phones to text to vote. You can show the real-time results to your audience and this will engage them in the topic of discussion. This live polling tool allows you to make both multiple choice and open-ended questions. You can get their feedback at the end of your speech by asking open-ended questions and encouraging them to text to vote.
The audience response system is straightforward and easy to use, so everyone can handle it. You just need to sign up to ExciteM’s website with your email and get started.
The process of overcoming the fear of public speaking and becoming a confident and inspiring speaker requires a lot of hard work. However, when you follow the above tips and devote time to enhance this vital skill, you’ll become an amazing public speaker.