To overcome fear of public speaking is nightmare without the right strategies and tools. Your heart starts pounding, you forget what to say, maybe a lump in the throat, or butterflies in your stomach and with everyone staring at you!
I know this fear of public speaking well. Public speaking used to terrify me, whether it be a presentation at uni, speaking up in a meeting or giving a talk.
The pressure of what people would think, would I make a fool of myself, forget what to say, would people be bored.
It would be too much and all these things would stampede through my head like a herd of buffalo.
Now I have a successful speaking a training business and actually enjoy the experience and wanted to share with you some tips.
The solution to this is two fold:
- Manage your emotional state
- A system and structure for delivering your talk/presentation
Skills which I have fine tuned over time, partly using Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) - The user manual for the brain, if you have ever wished for one of those, I know I certainly had!
It is impossible to perform well if you are in the wrong emotional state. Fear causes us to lose cognitive functioning, to forget what to say and behave in ways we wouldn't normally.
When we are comfortable and are in THE right state, not A right state, you can focus on and connect with the audience, whilst delivering your message with impact and style.
So here are my 3 top tips to overcome fear of public speaking.....
3 Top tips to overcome fear of public speaking
1. Do not try to remember it word for word
Trying to remember a talk or presentation word for word is a no go!
It is impossible for the brain to do this, especially when you are interacting with a live audience. What if someone asks a question?!! What if you want to elaborate on a point that is brought up?!!
The best thing to do is to have several topics that you want to cover and remember the order of the topics not try to remember every single word you will say in order.
2. Engage the audience
The idea of doing an hour long monologue terrifies me still. The idea of doing an hour interactive session thrills me.
Believe me, when you ask the audience questions, it becomes more like a two way conversation, not you standing up there droning on and on.
Depending on your audience, you can simply ask them to raise their hand asking the question 'has anyone experienced this?', then pick someone to say what their thoughts are. This makes it more stimulating for everyone and gets them to do some of the work!
3. Imagine a positive outcome
I can pretty much guess that when you imagine yourself public speaking you are not imaging yourself performing well, engaging the audience, the talk flowing beautifully and the audience being really glad they came!
The reason I know this is because I used to play horror and disaster movies about my talks in my head, weeks before they were happening.
Ever done that?
Do top athletes imagine themselves losing the race? Falling over and making a fool out of themselves? The crowd laughing at them? NO of course they don't!
They imagine performing at their peak, winning the race, the crowd cheering, holding the gold medal up high on the podium.
Public speaking is no different, in fact anything you want to achieve uses the same principle.
If you imaging something going a certain way, your mind takes it as mental reversal of the outcome you want. When you get into that situation, your mind starts to behave in that way!
No matter whether you were thinking about what you want to happen or what would be your worst nightmare, it is helpful like that!
Imagine the outcome you want, standing tall, communicating well, with flow and the audience engaged.
Try these tips out and see how you get on. Public speaking is like any other skills and will improve and seem less scary over time. You can practice with your friends and family and a few people to begin with, it does not matter whether it is to two people or 100 people, the above tips still apply.
Overcome your fear with my free E-book now - 'Speaking for impact without fear'
In this free copy of my book you will learn:
- How to structure and remember a talk without notes or powerpoint
- How to manage your emotions in the timeline and deal with fear
- Strategies to make a real impact with your message
Enjoy your free book and applying what you learn to take your speaking to the next level.
Your Trainer and Coach David Williams