13 Tips To Overcome Fear Of Public Speaking And Develop The King’s Speech
Ever heard of glossophobia? You may not know what the term stands for, but it doesn’t mean you have never experienced the feeling. Glossophobia is a common fear of public speaking a.k.a. “stage fright”. Most studies show that it has its place in the top 5 fears, and 3 out of every 4 people fear public speaking.
Yet starting out as an entrepreneur you have to be prepared to do a lot of public speaking. You will be representing, say, your mobile app or web service to the public ranging from angel investors and venture capitalists to family, friends and really anyone who will listen. We gathered and arranged best ideas from the Web into the following 13 (no, we aren’t superstitious) tips:
- Make sure you know exactly what impact you want to make on them. Is your aim to persuade them to invest in your startup? Or to share information about it with their specific audience? Or put in a word for your project when it comes to discussion? Having a clear view the goals you want to achieve is important to reduce your nervousness.
- Think about your audience as people. What knowledge do they have? What do they care about? What bothers them? If you manage to make some sort of an audience research you can be sure you will not look like a complete stranger to them.
- Think like a teacher. Find the best way to organize and convey your information. Think through how to piece it together so it makes sense and is understandable. Be a full master of your speech and your audience.
- Draw lines from dot to dot. Help your listeners follow your logic and let them have the “aha!” feeling several times.
- Conclusion allowing your audience to recognize some value in what they’ve heard is crucial. Having it prepared will make you feel more confident about what impression your last words will leave.
- Don’t memorize your entire presentation. Otherwise, you'll probably sound mechanical or rote. "You should not memorize your entire presentation, but rather your opening, key points and conclusion. Then, rehearse enough so you can 'forget it'," recommends Patricia Fripp, an award-winning keynote speaker. Attempting to memorize a presentation can also make you more anxious. Instead of putting that type of pressure on yourself, just know the order of your presentation, it will be enough to make you sound confident.
- Practice! "Before conquering his fear, billionaire investor Warren Buffett said he used to throw up before giving a presentation. Buffett practiced presenting in front of small groups until he became more comfortable and is now one of the most coveted speakers in the world.
- Establish contact with members of the audience shortly before your speech. Ask them questions concerning what you are going to speak about. It will not only activate your thinking on the subject, but allow you to refer to their point of view in your speech as well. What is important is to remember their names and maybe even titles and positions.
- There are rituals that may seem too formal to keep to, but some of them are really helpful when trying to boost your confidence. One of such is shaking the hand of the person who introduces you. This gesture will help you to tune in and get some sort of automatic recognition from the audience, since the introducer is usually known to the audience, not to speak of making good impression of a polite person.
- Control your breathing. Take a deep breath before you speak, then swallow, then begin. Practice what speech coaches often call “belly breathing”, or breathing from your diaphragm. It will help you build some resonance in your voice and sound firm, assured and confident.
- At the very moment you start speaking, take charge of the space and the audience. The first thirty seconds of any speech are key. The best way to do so is to get the audience involved. At the very beginning, give them a sort of a task. The most typical thing you could do is to ask for a show of hands, like “Anyone into online business?”. And then you can keep asking such questions. And don’t forget that people are always interested in hearing about themselves. Flatter their vanity, tell them something interesting and delightful about them as a group. For example, you can speak about how difficult and how important their work is, or about most successful projects.
- Emphasize their needs. If some of your listeners asks a question you have no answer for, it’s okay to say “I don’t know that; I will get back to you.” Remember: you are not the omniscient creator, you’re just trying to meet the needs of your audience and be as responsive as possible.
- Keep moving. When your nervous system is under a lot of stress, your body produces adrenaline. Don’t stand still. Instead, drain your nervous energy by walking around, if possible. Slowly walking in either direction of the podium a couple of steps can help calm your nerves. Subtle hand gestures will be helpful as well. Small, smooth and purposeful movements can help to hold the audience’s attention and add emphasis to key points in your presentation.
Fear is natural, failure is inevitable. If you don't fail at public speaking you might fail at something else as well. Just don't let the fear paralyze you.
Of course, there are people with the natural talent for public speaking, but most of us aren’t that lucky . Successfully implementing all these tips requires practice. But personal growth is worth trading your time for and putting your efforts into, isn’t it?
Talent alone won't guarantee successful performance. It can even cause serious troubles.
'How to Overcome Your Fear of Public Speaking’ by Hannah Morgan
'Overcoming Fear of Public Speaking’ by Beverly D. Flaxington
‘How Can You Deal With The Fear Of Public Speaking?’ by Nick Morgan
‘Command The Crowd: 3 Tips To Overcome Your Fear Of Public Speaking’ by Al Agrawal