Do you suffer from the fear of public speaking? You’re not alone! In fact, speaking in public is not only one of people’s biggest fears, it’s also the fear shared by a majority of people around the world. No one wants to get up in front of others and suffer under their scrutiny while stumbling through a speech and trying to keep sweaty palms dry.
In spite of this all-encompassing fear, it’s surprising that presentation skills, including public speaking skills, are crucial “must-haves” for the person who wants to advance in their career. Opportunities to speak in public are business-building and career-boosting situations that can’t be ignored. From sales presentations to annual meetings, and from Chamber of Commerce events to trade shows, there will be a lot of opportunities in your career to get up in front of an audience and speak.
Will you let the fear of public speaking keep you from succeeding?
Don’t let the fear of public speaking eliminate the many opportunities to succeed at work. There are several ways that you can overcome your public speaking phobia. One of those ways is to simply pretend that you are confident.
That’s right – feign self-assurance! Why? People see the exterior: someone that has a smile on his face and can hear your clear, strong voice speaking knowledgably and engagingly about a topic won’t be aware of your knocking knees or pounding heart.
How can you act more confident? Here are 6 simple ways:
1. Offer to speak when the opportunities present themselves. Other people share your fear of public speaking and that keeps them from presenting. That leaves a vacuum… that you can fill!
2. Smile when called upon. Don’t frown or shake your head. Stride confidently up to the stage, shake the hand of the person who introduced you, face the audience and make eye contact.
3. Breathe! Inhale and exhale to help calm yourself down.
4. Remember that even though you’re scared to be up there, most people can’t even make it that far!
5. Be prepared. Know what you want to say before you have to say it. This requires doing some homework and practice, but the confidence & credibility it will give you will be unmatched.
6. Before going up to the front, look around the room for a couple friendly faces of people. When you take the stage, look for their faces again and make eye contact. Those faces smiling back at you, will help to give you the confidence, assurance and support that you need to begin speaking.
Many people will agree the hardest thing is getting started. Planning and practicing the moments immediately before public speaking and the first few minutes into your speech are the hardest. Being aware of these simple facts can give you the security you need to take a leap of faith to overcome the fear of public speaking one speech at a time.
Deborah Torres Patel an internationally acclaimed Voice & Presentation Coach. Sign up for complimentary online training at http://www.expressingyou.com . To dramatically reduce fear of public speaking, register for 20 free lessons at http://www.fearlessinfive.com .