Have anxiety about public speaking? Don’t worry, we all do. Getting up in front of a roomful of peers can be intimidating. But with some practice and preparation, you can feel confident in overcoming your fear of public speaking. So, How to overcome your fear of public speaking?
1. Memorize General Concepts
It may seem like a good idea to prepare for a speech by memorizing it word-for-word. But this can lead to major problems once you get into the spotlight. First, a memorized speech can come off as over-rehearsed and rigid. Second, if your mind goes blank, it’s more difficult to regroup and naturally continue.
Your best bet is to focus on general concepts. Make an outline of the most valuable points in your speech. Practice covering those one by one, speaking naturally about each topic. This gives your speech more flexility and allows for a more natural, engaging presentation.
2. Meet the Audience
Spend some time getting to know your audience. Before your presentation, take a walk around the room and strike up a conversation with someone new. Breaking the ice and meeting a new face will refocus your nervous energy and help ease your anxiety. This will also help you learn about your audience so you can tailor your presentation accordingly.
3. Refine Your Visual and Audio Tools
Don’t bore your audience with dull slides. Present your slides in an unexpected way. Don’t be afraid to use a short, engaging video or a humorous photo to liven up your presentation. Consider asking a designer or illustrator to contribute graphics or illustrations to bring those slides to life.
4. Get In the Zone
Even the most seasoned speakers get nervous before a gig. It’s important to consciously shift your mindset before you grab the microphone. Take several deep breaths and get excited about sharing information with your audience. Get passionate about your topics and make that energy contagious.
5. Involve the Audience
Find an interesting way to engage the crowd. You can have the audience repeat back key concepts or ask for examples of the topics you cover. Getting your peers involved makes them feel as if you’re talking WITH them instead of AT them. Reach out and get them involved!