How do you get over public speaking fears?
Before I give a presentation, I usually get very anxious, and even though I might be pretty prepared, I stutter and repeat the same words sometimes. What are good tips and tricks to help me improve presentation skills, and how would you give a great speech? #communications #communication #public-speaking #class #personal-development
It's pretty natural to be nervous about public speaking. Preparation is key. I also think it's important to remember that you may not have the answer to every question thrown your way. If you embrace that ahead of time, you won't be derailed when such a question comes up. Regardless, you generally know more than the audience about the subject you're presenting. Take comfort in that.
Last, I would say be yourself when you're presenting. There are few things more counterproductive than putting on pretenses in front of a crowd. Just be yourself.
Practice, practice, practice! Stand in front of the mirror and give your whole presentation. You can see how you come across, see when you start to contemplate what you're going to say next and then work to fix those things in subsequent practices. Maybe have a friend or family member listen or watch you, too and offer feedback. When you start rehearsing, feel free to stop and take notes on what you want to work on and correct. Then do it again focusing on those items.
Here are some tips I have learned and applied over the years:
1.) If you prep a talk track, don't stress if you miss/forget to say a piece or 2 of information you prepped for. The audience will never know what you had prepared or meant to say. You can always follow up with your audience afterwards with additional important points.
2.) If you are presenting to an audience who is not as familiar with the information you are sharing, try to anticipate what questions your audience may ask and prepare your answers. If you are asked a question you don't know the answer too, is OK to admit that and tell your audience youll get back to them with a response.
3.) Don't let names, titles, or levels of your audience intimidate you and make you more nervous. At the end of the day, everyone is just a person who wants to hear and learn from what you have to say.
If you can gain the mindset that public speaking is really no different from a conversation with a friend, then you could be well on your way to overcoming this fear.
As mentioned by others, preparation and practice are very important in order to have the confidence to step to a podium in front of an audience that may be a few or a few hundred and know that you are ready to speak. There's something very different between a speaker who has done their homework and one who hasn't. So resolve to yourself that you will be ready when your turn to speak comes and know that the work you invest will pay off in an impressive presentation.
I think it is also very helpful to envision yourself beforehand, playing out how the presentation will go. Much like how sports psychologists encourage athletes to think about themselves winning, I'd suggest you think about how it would look to deliver a speech that hits all the high points with gusto and is well-received when you finish.
Once you have that confidence and once you have that mindset it doesn't really matter how many are in the room. You will be an impactful speaker.
Practice & start slowly. Start with a small group of people that you know and get comfortable with it, maybe 5 people and talk about topics in which you have an interest. Eventually it will become second nature to talk in front of that group. After that, slowly grow the group; add a few people until you are comfortable in front of that size and continue doing so.
Another thing that helped me was volunteering to read at church. Since you are just reading, you don't have to worry about answering questions or making eye contact, however, you will get used to standing & speaking in front of a large group. As you get comfortable just being in front of people and reading, eventually you can start to make eye contact, etc.
There are many “tricks” to get over fear of public speaking but the things that have made me a very effective and engaging speaker are not on many lists of “tricks.”
First, be prepared. I highly discourage memorizing speeches or presentations. You need to know the material and only try to remember 3 or 4 main points you want your audience to know. Then just talk to them and share your knowledge and expertise.
Second, remember that they are there to hear you. You are the expert and they want to learn what you have to say.
Third, be confident. If you aren’t feeling confident, fake it until you make it. If you act confident and act like you are in control, you will begin to feel confident and less fearfull.
The two things that have helped me the most are preparation and practice. You mentioned you're usually pretty prepared which is great. The better you know your information inside and out and can anticipate audience questions, the better off you will feel. The audience wants you to be good because they want to be either entertained or informed. Remember it's your presentation and you're in control. The second part is practice which will just come naturally over time. The more speeches you do the more comfortable you will be the next time. It's very natural to feel anxious. Almost everyone starts off feeling the same way you do.
The best way to get over this fear is to practice. By practicing alone by yourself, and then also in front of others who you are comfortable around (family, friends) really helps. Also, being confident with the material you are presenting makes it a lot easier. If you know what you are talking about, it should come easier to you. This also comes with practice.
Hope this helps!
1. I imagine the most important points being written a page and I keep that image in mind. So even if I forget something, this image in my mind helps me to pick up from where I left off.
2. It’s okay to repeat a word sometimes.
3. When I am talking in front of a completely new audience, I imagine that I already know the audience very well. That kind of calms my brain and removes the fear of presenting before a new audience.
4. I practice in front of the mirror so that I am more aware of the way I present and I can improvise further.
One way to practice before your presentation is using new Virtual Reality tools, such as Samsung BeFearless for the GearVR. It can be just the thing to break through anxiety over public speaking and make your "stage", whatever it is, feel familiar. Ultimately it's confidence in your material and your knowledge of it that makes one feel at ease when giving a presentation. If high-tech solutions don't feel like the right fit for you, use whatever you have at hand: a mirror, a family cat, etc. Recording yourself using your smartphone can help you review your performance and find areas to improve on. There are also apps available to help you train to control stuttering and you may find them helpful if stuttering is keeping you from feeling confident in your public speaking. You've got a great public speaker inside of you, have no doubt.
Hi Tiffanie, this is a very common fear! Even though you may feel anxious and nervous about giving a speech, your audience usually will never even know. We are our toughest critics. The best practice in giving a speech is knowing the topic. If you are knowledgeable & comfortable about the subject matter, you will feel more confident. Best of luck to you!
Toastmasters is an excellent way to meet with other individuals to give presentations in a supportive environment with feedback provided
Cindy recommends the following next steps: