Monday, May 30, 2016

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5 Steps to Overcome Fear of Public Speaking

Quote of the day: 
Great wisdom is generous; petty wisdom is contentious. Great speech is impassioned, small speech cantankerous. -Zhuangzi


Public speaking anxiety will certainly rank high in most people's list of their greatest fears. At least on mine it does. However, this fear of speaking is to a lesser extent diminished today than say in previous years. Its like the fear of public speaking affects us all. For me, it is a recurring fear but the good thing is that I'm a lot better now at presenting, after undergraduate and more recently graduate studies -where making presentations was part of coursework and assignments to broaden knowledge and enhance confidence and skills.

But you see, the thing with public speaking is, its scary when you try it out the first time -as it is with all things in life it seems. That first time can be a nightmare and can lead to what eventually opens up your inner confidence while relegating fear to the background -because truth be told it is this fear of hearing your own voice, of standing in front of familiar faces and strangers alike, of attempting to recall your points while standing behind a projected screen, not to speak of breaking out in a sweat and having butterflies in your stomach -you could either fail at it or be a success at first trial.

So whether you are speaking in front of just a few people or dozens or thousands, or even being at an interview, public speaking isn't as easy as it looks and it involves lots of preparation. Some of the things I've learned for effective public speaking include:

1. Prepare in Advance: Go over your notes and slides up to a day before at least, and be sure to break things down into easy to understand points. One trick I use it to imagine myself speaking to little kids -where things have to be kept simple for easy understanding.

2. Dress the Part: You want to look the part when you get up there for your presentation. Being as presentable as possible is always a nice touch whether its a talk or an interview, it projects confidence.

3. Don't use Jargon: Its best to keeping things simple and not use too much jargon -even if its a tech presentation there will be people in the audience who have no clue about the terms being used. So its best to just keep it simple by not using too many technical terms.

4. Its Okay to move Around: Being expressive with your hands, moving around, making eye contact with the audience, and projecting a confident voice all help to make for a great presentation.

5. Don't Speak too Fast: Its great to practice beforehand, practice speaking in front of the mirror and maintain a stable level of speaking -not too fast or too slow, just enough for people to fully grasp your presentation without having to strain their ears.

As with all things, practice makes perfect. The very thought of public speaking can be a nightmare at first, but it shouldn't be a lasting one. What do you do to prep for a presentation? Are you good at it, and what ideas can you share for those just starting out?

Peace. Love. Light* 

Current Listen: Lira -Let There Be Light


  1. Yikes, public speaking! I usually feel like I have a giant cotton ball stuck in my throat and all my insides turn wobbly. I try to concentrate on breathing deep, relaxing breaths.

  2. It is scary, but it does feel like when you do get there it get easier, but yes you have to get there first

  3. I've had to do public speaking recently: my first speaking engagement as an author. I am fairly comfortable doing it, but I think it is good to keep a little edge. Too comfortable and you're likely to be underprepared, perhaps.

    Thank you for your recent visits to my blog and nice comments! :)

  4. As a clergyman many years ago, I did much public speaking; then later as a teacher. It's great fun.

  5. Ah Blogoratti,

    Some fine suggestions in regards to public speaking. I've done my fair share of public speaking and I contact with the audience my having a bit of a joke about how nervous I am about public speaking. That puts me and the audience at ease.

    Take care and happy public speaking!


  6. Public speaking is not something I enjoy but can do.

  7. I used to read poems to a small audience. That was quite enough.

    Many speakers start off with a good joke. I used to start with a beer!

  8. Hi Blogoratti - I don't like public speaking in front of big audiences ... but I've settled in to talking to smaller groups ... I tend to draft out my talk as per my blog posts - makes it easier to read, but doesn't sound like it's being read ... now I'm used to that I must practise being more relaxed about it ...

    I do talk slowly, enunciating my words and ensure that I can be heard by the audience ... but your tips are excellent and essential - and will ease the fright .. as you are prepared.

    Cheers Hilary

  9. Very useful blog !

  10. Interesting suggestions, thanks for sharing!
    Kisses, Paola.


    My Facebook

  11. As one who speaks regularly in front of groups, good ideas. I also like to go through my presentation the night before, just before going to bed, and first thing in the morning. It helps me get it in my brain where I don't have to depend as much on notes or a manuscript.

  12. Very good tips, I never had problems with this :-)

  13. Excellent tips. I've grown much more comfortable with it over the years, though I still shake terribly when I have to do it.

  14. Thank you for these tips. Very useful!

  15. I've had a few occasions when I've had to speak in front of people both with prepared material and winging it. My favourite audience has to be children,they ask the most bizarre questions.

  16. Really interesting post...thx for sharing! xx

  17. I can talk one on one with a person no problem, but when it comes to public speaking, I'm no good at it. :) Thank you for the tips. I hear that it gets easier every time. Luckily, I don't have to do it right now in my life.



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