For some reason, many people would rather die, hang out with snakes or play with spiders than get up and speak in front of a group of fellow humans. Funny, but as nerve-wracking as public speaking can be, for me it certainly beats the heck out of dying, snakes and most definitely spiders!
But it doesn’t have to be that way for you. Here are some things you can do to overcome the fear of public speaking and use this powerful tool for growing your visibility and your business.
Often the fear of public speaking stems from the fear of feeling foolish when you forget what you wanted to say. So, if you prepare for your speech by practicing it until you know it well, you can allay these fears.
Another way to prepare is to know your topic so well that you can give the speech extemporaneously if you need to.
Change Your Mindset
Sometimes people get nervous when speaking in front of a a group because they think of it as speaking one to many. But if you change your mindset and think of your presentation as speaking to a series of individuals, it can make it a lot easier.
Remember, each person in your audience is experiencing your presentation from their own perspective. To them, you are speaking to them alone. So do just that. Talk to one person for a moment. Then move on to the next person. And the next. Make your presentation an conversation with specific individuals within the audience. Just don’t linger with any one person too long, or you could make that person feel uncomfortable.
Use a Crutch
Still afraid that you’ll choke and forget your speech? Use a crutch! You can use index cards or a sheet of paper or even PowerPoint to help you remember the key points and their order.
However, keep in mind that using a crutch in public speaking is an art in itself. You don’t want it to be too obvious that that is what you are doing, or your audience will be distracted from your message.
Want more information on how to overcome the fear of speaking? Check out my ultimate guide post.
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