If you are nervous or even fearful about public speaking, join the crowd. Most people have a fear of public speaking. It's called glossophopia. I'd gloss over it, but glossophobia can range from fealing the fear and doing it anyway to being incapacitated by it.
Sometimes, I enter a conversation about public speaking and if the person mentions a fear of it, I typically ask, "Have you ever considered Toastmasters, Dale Carnegie, the Christopher Leadership Course or even a professionally taught course?"
A common answer is, "Oh no, I don't like public speaking! That's not for me! Forget it!"
How much potential to improve organizations and we satisfy our customers is lost because people with intelligence and wisdom are afraid to speak up? Professional speaking coach, Jacques Waisvisz offers some tips on dealing with fear and nervousness about public speaking.
Nervousness about speaking in front of groups is most likely the result of negative conditioning, during our school years. This negative conditioning can be overcome by experiencing positive conditioning, either imagined or real. Proper speech preparation includes imagined positive speaking experiences. People in sports use positive imagination all the time. You should too when you fear addressing a group. Imagine the audience smiling at you, laughing at your jokes, giving you a standing ovation at the end. Play virtual reality within your own mind. Make it real. These positive thoughts will help override previous negative conditioning.
However, positive conditioning by itself is not enough to overcome your fear. You will actually have to face your fear by making short speeches to groups that you are familiar with. This will boost your confidence and create real positive experiences. Toastmasters International membership allows you to do exactly that in club format.
If you don't have time to join Toastmasters, and your speech is due soon, you need to prepare now. Proper preparation will get you over the first pangs of terror when you get up to speak. To overcome the fear of speaking in front of a group...know your material. Speak on something you know better than the average person, something that you believe in and about which you are enthusiastic.
Very often nervousness is caused by the fact that we do not really know our subject well enough to convince other people. This naturally results in nervousness about our ability to convince an audience. Therefore one of the first rules of speech making is:
Know your subject! If you know your subject it will be easy for you to be enthusiastic. Enthusiasm is contagious. If you speak passionately and enthusiastically about something you believe in and are knowledgeable about, chances of convincing your audience are greatly increased.
Many speakers make the grave error of expecting an audience to remember the most intricate details of their discourse. Audiences cannot possibly remember everything that you tell them. As speakers we have to learn to be very selective in deciding what points to put before our audience and how much detail is required to become convincing.
A good suggestion is to repeat the main points various times throughout the speech. Granted, we do not simply repeat the points, we discuss the points in different ways in the three main parts of a speech, the opening, the body and the conclusion, but we repeat them just the same.
The Speakers Coach
Get up, get going, get over GLOSSOPHOBIA!