Did you know that fear of public speaking ranks #2 among most people’s top dreads? Yes, it goes above and beyond fear of illness, fear of flying or heights, and even fear of terrorism and death itself.

The amazing fact is that most people would rather die before standing on a podium to give a speech! And I know better because I’ve been in that position myself…

Speaking in front of a congregation or to a crowd may be a harrowing experience for many. From physical symptoms -like accelerated pulse, blushing, breaking out into a sweat, dry mouth, nausea, and blurred vision, amongst others- to the internal dialogue we must deal with (such as “People will laugh at me”, “I won’t be able to communicate my message clearly”, or “I will make a fool of myself”), the whole experience can be nerve-wreaking!

And sometimes, when the speaker gets into a situation where the anxiety is extreme, the message may just end up lost in the air without getting the point across. This may cause feelings of insecurity, defeat, fear of being criticized and rejected, feelings that nobody wants to experience and much less in public.

No matter how good your presentation is or how well-meaning your message is, if the delivery is haphazard, it will remain invaluable.

The good news is that public speaking is an art that can be learned. It includes not just mastery of the subject but also practice and self-control. Being well-prepared for your speaking engagement has no substitute. With constant practice and time, you will be speaking to your audience confidently in no time at all.

Here are some pointers to follow during your public speaking endeavour:

Practice Visualization
Several days before your public speaking engagement, take time to do this exercise. Take a deep breath and relax. Now, picture yourself in front of the audience delivering the speech confidently and see the crowd listening with interest, taking notes, smiling, nodding, and finally standing up and giving a round of applause as you finish. As with any visualization, the more you do it, the more effective it will be and the more confident you will feel. For a successful visualization, add details and emotion. Feel it “as if” you were already there!

Practice Your Presentation or Topic Beforehand
Make sure your presentation is topic-oriented and appropriate for what the audience is looking for. This includes even the language you will use. Draw a small audience to practice with. Assign a timer and an evaluator during the simulation exercise. The timer records the length of your delivery so that it fits perfectly within the allotted time, giving you the opportunity to cover all of your information and possibly leaving time for Q&A.; The task of the evaluator, on the other hand, will be to check on the manner of your delivery – as well as the content of your topic.

Be Confident
Being a bit nervous is quite alright, but overdoing it can be detrimental. Confidence relieves nervousness in any undertaking, especially in public speaking. You can build the confidence needed to prevent feeling anxious by working on simulated speaking sessions prior to the speaking engagement. Show your confidence by mastering your topic—not mere memorizing—but by truly knowing your topic inside out. Everything that you need, such as equipment and technical requirements, must be set up and tested prior to the presentation day.

Present-ability and Body Language
First impressions count. Dress appropriately for the occasion. Comfort is a primary consideration. Clothes/suits that you don’t feel comfortable with can affect your stance and disposition on stage. Use your body language to your advantage. Stand tall and erect (good posture), maintain eye contact, and precision-time your movements on stage. If you need to use gestures to express a point, that is OK, but don’t overdo it.

Moving lightly can release tension and nervousness. A hand in the pocket also works wonders while on stage rather than flicking it around. Always pay attention to your audience’s reactions during your presentation. There may be signs of ineffectiveness, and you may need to make little adjustments as you go to get your audience’s attention back. Injecting humour when appropriate is good, but don’t overdo it.

Speak with Conviction
Believe in every word you say. This will radiate through your audience and will manifest your confidence and mastery of the topic you are presenting. During an open forum, listen to the questions being asked and respond accordingly.

Finally, remember to take sips of water as you go to prevent a dry mouth, walk from one side of the stage to the other at a nice pace, and be conscious of the fact that you are talking to an audience, not an individual, so change your eye focus from one person to another as you speak.

Here is a secret… every speaker gets nervous at one point or another, even after years of delivering speeches and lots of practice. This is because every audience is different, the topics may vary and our level of confidence changes from one day to another for a variety of reasons.

Some days, we may feel more confident than others, so take that into consideration and feel at ease with it. It is perfectly fine to feel a bit anxious, but that doesn’t have to disable you when doing your public speaking.

I invite you to watch this recorded webinar by author and public speaker Paul B. Evans. In it, he shares his secrets for a successful presentation, no matter your topic or level of experience!

Author

Tania Gabrielle is an astrologer, numerologist, and psychic. She is the creator of Numerology Academy - the first online certification course in Astro-Numerology. The course has been taught to thousands of students across 37 countries.

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