You can dangle a snake in front of me, or make me down a [tiny] bottle of Tabasco sauce. You can even push me off a waterfall cliff.
But if I'm ever asked to address a room full of people, I might not make it out alive.
It's really no surprise why Public Speaking ranks as the top fear in many countries.
Having sixteen pairs of eyes trace your every movement during a presentation is downright terrifying - from the second you walk up to introduce yourself to that brief (but awful) moment of silence when you forget what to say.
Here, we offer some pointers to help you brave through your next speech or presentation:
You don't have to spend sleepless nights obsessing over what to say. Instead, memorise your key points and write them in bullet points on cue cards, which you can then refer to conveniently throughout your presentation.
Practise aloud to see if any improvements can be made to your content once you've put your presentation or speech together. Also, be sure to do sufficient research so that you won't falter when your audience asks questions!
Invest in your audience
To deliver a successful presentation, you must serve the needs of your audience. While it's fun regaling personal experiences, you should always find a way to relate your presentation back to your audience. As a speaker, your goal is to leave the audience with something of value, which means creating a solid bond between them and your material.
Remember, trying to impart too much information or cover too many points in a short presentation will only intimidate your audience. So KISS - Keep It Short and Simple.
Too often, people assume that they have to be witty, polished or brilliant to succeed at a presentation. However, once you give up the idea of perfection and simply be yourself, you'll find that public speaking is not inherently stressful.
Instead of trying to emulate other speakers or forcing a joke upon your audience, be confident (and humble) in your speech, and remind yourself of the key points that you want to convey. Couple that with relevant stories or examples, and you'll find yourself conquering the presentation.
How else can you overcome the fear of public speaking? Share with us in the comment box below!
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