Overcome Your Fear of Public Speaking

Have you ever been asked to give a speech or presentation at work, and felt like you wanted to run away? Maybe the opportunity to sell your services in front of a crowd has come up and instead of jumping at the opportunity, you find yourself making every excuse under the sun not to. 

I’ve been there!

Well, you’re not alone. In fact, most people experience some degree of fear when it comes to public speaking. 

But what if I told you that public speaking is a skill that can be learned and that with practice, you can overcome your fear and become a confident public speaker?

Public speaking provides the opportunity to connect with others and promote your work. Whether you’re looking for investors, clients or collaborators, public speaking skills are extremely important. The trouble is, it’s not an easy skill to attain and it shows in the fact that 75% of people in the USA have a fear of public speaking.

If you fall into this category, there’s no need to worry. It is entirely normal to feel nervous about speaking in front of other professionals, especially when it is about your own work. 

Public speaking anxiety, also known as glossophobia, can cause us to sweat, clam up, and stumble on our words. It can be overwhelming and prevent us from taking part in public speaking altogether.

In this article, we will discuss some of the most effective ways to overcome the fear of public speaking, with practical tips to boost your confidence. We’ll also explore why public speaking is so important for entrepreneurs, and how you can use it to connect with others, promote your work, and build your business.

Accept the fear

Before we develop our public speaking skills, we need to accept our fears. Instead of feeling embarrassed or ashamed, it’s important to remember that you’re not alone. There are many entrepreneurs who do not like public speaking.

Once we recognize this fear, we can do something about it. Whether that’s enrolling in a public speaking course or practicing some breathing exercises, it’s important to accept your fear free from judgment.  Say goodbye to negative mindsets like “I’m useless” or “I’m not good enough” and start telling yourself that it’s OK to be afraid. By doing so, you will notice your confidence grow. 

Unpack the fear

Unpacking your fear of public speaking is an important step in overcoming it. When you know what you’re afraid of, you can start to address those fears and develop strategies for overcoming them. One of the most common fears is forgetting what you’re going to say. Another is being unable to answer a question. Still others fear failure, rejection, or not being good enough. Identifying your specific fears can help you to start working on them.

To help you unpack your fear, try writing down a list of everything you’re afraid of about public speaking. Don’t be afraid to be honest with yourself, even if your fears seem silly or irrational. Once you have a list, you can start to work on addressing each fear individually. For example, if you’re afraid of forgetting what you’re going to say, you can practice speaking in front of a mirror or with a friend or family member. You can also try writing out your speech or presentation ahead of time. If you’re afraid of not being able to answer a question, you can prepare by researching your topic thoroughly and practicing answering common questions.

Addressing your fears of public speaking can take time and effort, but it is possible to overcome them. By following these tips, you can start to move past your fears and become a more confident public speaker.

Know your topic

Another way to improve your confidence is to know your topic. If you have the opportunity to choose your own subject, pick something that you are passionate about. If you are talking about something that isn’t in your field of expertise, do some research and find out everything you need to know in order to ease your nerves. The more you know about your topic, the less likely you are to forget your words or stumble. Prepare for some common questions by writing down some answers and undertaking additional research. Not only will you feel more comfortable on the day but you will also build trust with your audience.

Write it down

While you’ll want to refrain from reading your speech out on the day, it always helps to write it down beforehand. Writing down your speech is a great way to get used to what you are going to say. Start by putting everything you want to say onto paper. It may not make the final cut but it’s a start. You can then refine and improve it as you go. Once the speech is on paper, break it down into an introductory paragraph, a main body paragraph, and a conclusion. Use this content to create note cards, with two or three bullet points for each paragraph. Keep the cards simple and easy to read. If you lose your train of thought, a quick glimpse of your cards will put you back on track. 

Practice

It may sound simple but the more you practice, the more comfortable you will feel. Practice in front of the mirror to get used to what you are saying. Pay attention to your body language and notice where you tense up. Time yourself to ensure that you don’t overrun. You may also want to record it so that you can play it back and make improvements. If you’re still feeling unsure, ask for feedback from people you trust like friends and family. Remember, it doesn’t have to be a finished product right away. After all, practice makes perfect.

Visualise success

Visualization is a powerful tool that enables us to eliminate fear and thrive under pressure. Frequently used by athletes, it is the act of imagining yourself completing a certain goal or task. In this case, you will visualize yourself completing the presentation. The more detailed the visualization, the more effective it will be. Picture everything from the clothes you will wear to the music you will listen to on the way. Engage all of your senses by visualizing things like smell, sight, and touch. The more real you make it, the more prepared you will feel.

Breathe & Smile

When we get nervous, our body tenses up, our palms sweat and our breath becomes heavy. This affects the way we deliver our speech and puts us on edge. To calm your entire nervous system down, start with some simple breathing exercises. 

Breathing helps alleviate public speaking anxiety by bringing you back to the moment. A slow count to five on the inhale and exhale will help you to stay calm, before, during, and after your speech. It will also release tension and enhance concentration.

Another straightforward trick is to smile. Whether it’s fake or real, never underestimate the importance of a smile. A smile releases all the endorphins that make us feel good and it also makes us look professional and approachable. If you’re struggling to forge a smile, think about something funny or amusing beforehand.

Conclusion

In business, public speaking is an important skill and it’s particularly essential for entrepreneurs. It’s also very common to have a fear of public speaking. You may be afraid of making a mistake or looking silly in front of colleagues. Perhaps you don’t want to make a bad impression or are afraid of being judged. Whatever it is, it’s important to identify the reason so that you can learn to work with it. Improve your public speaking skills by looking for public speaking classes in your local area. If this is not your thing, then a professional business coach can provide you with the skills and support you need. It takes a while but with a little effort, you will be able to speak confidently about your business in no time.

Resources

https://www.wikihow.com/Overcome-Your-Fear-of-Public-Speaking

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/specific-phobias/expert-answers/fear-of-public-speaking/faq-20058416

https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescoachescouncil/2022/11/07/how-to-conquer-your-fear-of-public-speaking-five-unique-steps/?sh=62585def426e

Danielle Hu

Danielle Hu

Danielle Hu is a multiple 6-figure travel influencer, business coach, and Founder of The Wanderlover. She has traveled to over 65+ countries running her online business and surfing in remote tropical destinations. Her mission is to help creatives and coaches achieve time freedom, location freedom, and financial freedom through online entrepreneurship.

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Hi, I’m Danielle

My mission is to help you design a location-independent lifestyle through online entrepreneurship, to achieve time freedom, location freedom, financial freedom.

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