11 answers

How do you get over public speaking fears?

Updated New York, New York

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

11 answers

Doug’s Answer

Updated West Palm Beach, Florida

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.

Constance’s Answer

Updated Hartford, Connecticut

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. Good luck!

Brandon’s Answer

Updated Bristol, Connecticut

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.

Joshua’s Answer

Updated Hartford, Connecticut

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.

Dan’s Answer

Updated Bristol, Connecticut

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.

Jacob’s Answer

Updated North Richland Hills, Texas

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.

Ashleigh’s Answer

Hi Vera!

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!

Rana’s Answer

Hi Tiffanie

I'm glad you brought up this question. Please keep that in mind that most of us share this fear more or less, so its very very normal to feel this way. Now there are definitely ways to manage this feeling, some are brought below:

1-The more you are comfortable with the topic you are presenting, the easier it becomes to get over your fear

2-Practice makes perfect! I assure you that the more you practice the calmer you become. Try to practice your presentation before your friends and family, an audience that you are comfortable with

3-Take 10 deep breath before you start, oxygen calms your nerves

4-Try to meditate before your presentation

5-Be aware that no one is perfect, we are all humans and subject to make mistakes. We learn from them and we improve

Cheers

Rana

Colleen’s Answer

Updated Dallas, Texas

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.

Cindy’s Answer

Updated Grapevine, Texas

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:

  • Go to Toastmasters.com to locate a local chapter in your area.

Amy’s Answer

Updated

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!

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