A Fear Of Public Speaking Is Normal. Embrace It And Grow.
by TeachThought Staff
What is glossophobia?
Glossophobia is the fear of public speaking.
And it’s extremely common. Wikipedia even offers some tips on overcoming the fear of public speaking, including “preparation and rehearsing, deconstructing your beliefs, engaging in positive self-talk, visualizing your optimal performance, practicing mindfulness, breathing exercises, creating an anxiety hierarchy, using virtual reality, computerized coaches and medications…”
Creating an engaging and exciting presentation isn’t something that comes easy to everyone.
Peoples’ fear of public speaking beat out that of drowning, needles, snakes, heights, and even clowns. So take a look at some quotes by people who really knew how to work a stage and own a presentation. Melt your public speaking fear away with these five nuggets of knowledge.
Strategies To Overcome Your Fear Of Public Speaking
Focus on making your point
“If you have an important point to make, don’t try to be subtle or clever. Use a pile driver. Hit the point once. Then come back and hit it again. Then hit it a third time — a tremendous whack.” – Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill was arguably one of history’s best public speakers and most notable figures. The British Prime Minister was known for his inspirational speeches and witty comments. Here he’s saying that you need to throw subtlety to the wind, and if you have a point to make – make it. There is absolutely no need to waste anyone’s time. Cut to the meat of your presentation and leave the filler at the door.
“Speak clearly, if you speak at all; carve every word before you let it fall.” — Oliver Wendell Holmes
Oliver Wendell Holmes was an American poet and author, he wrote on a wide range of topics, but was also a famous scholar and lecturer. Here, Holmes is making the point to be clear about the words you say and how you say them. Oliver Wendell Holmes was noted for appearing to be off the cuff with his lectures, yet they were well-rehearsed. Preparation is a key factor to a good speech or presentation, a point he reiterated in his life over and over.
Use your enthusiasm for the topic
“The way you overcome shyness is to become so wrapped up in something that you forget to be afraid.” — Lady Bird Johnson
Claudi Alta Taylor ‘Lady Bird’ Johnson was a highly active First Lady with a very public presence, yet was rather reserved in her private life. The best way to get over your fears or social anxieties when it comes to presenting, performing, or leading a public event is to become so engrossed in the message you’re trying to convey that it becomes impossible to even consider what others might be thinking.
Passion is infectious and will spread like wildfire if it’s genuine.
Accept that the public speaking will not be perfect
“A book may give you excellent suggestions on how best to conduct yourself in the water, but sooner or later you must get wet …” — Dale Carnegie
One of the original creators of the Self-Help genre, Dale Carnegie was a master orator and lecturer. He wrote the famous book “How to Win Friends & Influence People” which stated that no matter how many books you read and what understanding you think you have on certain concepts, you will never be able to gauge that knowledge until you actually go out and put it into practice.
Adjust cognitive behavior
This is, of course, the key of almost any fear: how you think. Overcoming your fear of public speaking may require that you unpack the actual cause of the fear and adjust your thoughts and beliefs accordingly.
“Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear — not absence of fear.”— Mark Twain
The famed satirical wizard Mark Twain also once said that people who gave speeches were either nervous or liars. Twain suffered from immense stage fright, which is why much of his work is written. Here he is saying that true courage is the ability to be afraid of something, yet do it anyways.
There are many ways to make your presentation great (supporting your content with pictures, GIFS or even using software add-ons that insert video in PowerPoint for you), but they all begin and end with your confidence levels and how you present them. After all, in most cases, the fear of ‘messing up’ is far worse than actually messing up would ever be.
More Public Speaking Tips
Many of these have less to do with fear and more to do with tips for speaking in public in general.
Practice positive visualization in the days before your speech, presentation, etc.
Accept that nervous is normal
Empathize: Consider how you feel when you see someone make a mistake and realize that it’s not as bad the speaker often experiences it
Raise your pallet
Be mindful of your posture
Make eye contact (in a large venue, find three or four ‘segments’ of your audience and mix your ‘visual attention’ between them equally
Adapt to the audience response in real-time (if you’re able)
And this great video offers a few more ‘macro,’ conceptual shifts that can help improve your public speaking
- Show up to give not to take.
- Authenticity engages, use you. You have to know yourself before you ask, audience can feel authenticity
- Perception and awareness connect you to the audience.
- Audacity, it informs and inspires. You have to be bold in order to deliver something that is informative.
- Deliver a story because stories paint ‘pictures’ that last in our minds. Never tell a story without making a point, never make a point without a story.
10 Tips To Overcome The Fear Of Public Speaking