How Can I Overcome My Fear of Speaking in Public? - The Ultimate Guide
The idea of speaking in public can strike fear into even the most confident of people. The cold sweats, the churning stomach, the pounding of the heart can all come on when faced with the task of standing in front of a crowd. You're not alone if you feel this way.
Why Am I Scared to Speak in Public?
Glossophobia is the name given to the phobia of speaking in public, it is also referred to as public speaking anxiety and it is the second biggest fear in the UK, with an estimated 73% of the population believed to be affected by it at some level. The underlying fear associated with Glossophobia is that of judgement from others in public, which is something everyone can relate to, and the fear comes from being in a position of vulnerability, standing apart from a group.
What Are The Signs of Glossophobia?
Whilst there are a number of signs of a fear of speaking in public, it’s essential to remember that having any one of the following does not necessarily mean you have glossophobia. However, public speaking anxiety is a genuine fear, and can reveal itself through:
Rate Nausea or Sickness
Physical Body Tension
Public speaking is a largely sought-after skill at all levels within the workplace and beyond, having the ability to speak clearly, coherently and confidently in front of people can accelerate your aspirations. Wondering how to overcome your fear of public speaking? Read below for answers you need and more:
5 Common Questions About Public Speaking Answered
1. How can I prepare for my speech?
It may sound like a cliché, but the old adage of practice makes perfect really does ring true here. Nothing is more daunting for a speaker than stepping in front of a crowd completely unprepared and nothing is more disengaging for an audience than watching the keynote speaker stutter, stumble and read from a script. Tackle this before the big day by practising your speech in advance using techniques like: recording yourself, improvising from cue cards and speaking in front of the mirror to ensure you are public speaking ready.
Across the board it is recommended to practice the content of your presentation or speech between 10 and 15 times in order to perfectly balance preparedness with spontaneity. Make sure you leave room for some improvisation as this will make the talk come across more natural.
2. What topic should I do my speech on?
When someone is passionate about a topic, knowledge and enthusiasm radiate from them as they engage others in it.The same goes for public speaking. We are often afraid of the unknown, however, when you choose to discuss something you love, you are likely already an authority in that area, be it sport, business or adventure.
Having the upper hand in knowing your topic back to front, makes you more invested in the speech and in turn, more confident in delivering it. One of the best ways to overcome public speaking anxiety is delivering a speech driven by feelings and beliefs, as this resonates with your audience and is more natural for you, as the speaker, to discuss, meaning your glossophobia will take a backseat.
3. How Can I Manage My Nerves?
Being confronted with a large expectant audience is anxiety inducing, even for a seasoned speaker. However, worry not as there are ways to keep your nerves at bay, through mindfulness, breathing exercises and pre talk prep.
Between 2015 and 2020 more than 2,500 mobile mindfulness apps were launched, taking the art of relaxation mainstream. Resources such as Calm, created by Michael Acton Smith, will guide you through a meditation practice in a matter of minutes from the convenience of your phone, meaning you can ease your public speaking anxiety on the go. Deep breaths and a moment to yourself will ensure you are steady when you step out on stage. Another key way of combating public speaking nerves is by becoming au fait with your surroundings. Every venue is different. From entrances and exits, to capacity and acoustics, familiarising yourself with the venue beforehand will ensure any extra anxiety surrounding the day is diminished, leaving you to focus on yourself.
4. What Should I Do With My Hands?
There is nothing more distracting for an audience than fidgety hands, and unfocused eye contact when watching a speaker, however, that doesn’t help you know what to do when you stand under the spotlight.
Approximately 55% of the overall message conveyed in face to face encounters is through body language; that’s over half. Practice making good eye contact to the whole room, considered hand gestures such as open palm gestures and being unchoreographed in your movement. A study of famous TED speakers found that talks with a viral view count averaging 7.4 million views used 465 hand gestures as a median, meaning getting your hands to say the same as your voice is essential to a successful public speech.
5. What Happens if I Freeze on Stage?
Brain freeze is a very common fear when it comes to speaking in public. You have prepared, you have the audience's attention, and you are on stage, the only thing you’re missing is the words! No matter how much preparation and relaxation you do beforehand, there will always be an element of anxiety, and this can occasionally cause you to get a brain freeze.
If faced with this situation, worry not, we’ve all been there! Follow this process and remember the audience will soon forget your minor blip.
Don’t panic, it’s not a major problem
Take a moment to regain your composure
Refer back to your pre prepared notes or slides
Carry on with confidence, don’t refer back to your earlier error.
Need Some Inspiration? We’ve Got You Covered
From viral TED speakers, to motivational sports speakers, here at Champions Speakers we have an eclectic range of top quality talent on our rooster. Why not draw inspiration from some of our professionals for your own speech, and pick up a few tips in the process?
Former England cricketer, Matthew Hoggard gives a masterclass in after dinner talks with his humorous behind the scenes look into the victory bus parade following the 2005 Ashes win.
Ken Segall shares his experience as the former creative director of Apple, through anecdotes, slides and interactive conversation with his audience.
Entrepreneur and seasoned speaker, Penny Power, has her audience engaged in her every word, by adding emotion and personalisation to her business talk.
Book A Speaker
Events are there to be enjoyed, so why not alleviate the public speaking anxiety and hire one of Champions Speakers for your occasion? Either call an agent on 0207 1010 553 or fill in our online form to have one of our experts guide you through the process from start to finish, ensuring you have the professional speaker that is perfect for your event.