The fear of public speaking – known as glossophobia – impacts most people’s lives in one way or another. Around 75% of adults in the UK suffer from this fear, and some people even think it is worse than dying!
If this sounds familiar, I have good news: if you are willing to put the work in, you CAN overcome your fear of public speaking. I should know because I used to be terrified of it.
There are four key areas you can work on to overcome your fear of public speaking. Ironically, they compose what I like to call the ‘FEAR’ formula!
When you’re afraid of public speaking, you focus completely on yourself. How you look, sound, and feel.
To help overcome your fear, focus on your audience instead.
Before your presentation begins, talk to your audience and get to know them. This way, you are taking the emphasis off yourself, and placing it on who you are serving – which is the most important thing any speaker can do.
Take a second to think about how you feel before you speak. You’re nervous, right?
What does nervousness feel like? It usually involves butterflies in your stomach, sweaty palms, and adrenaline surging through your body.
Nerves aren’t the enemy. And you aren’t the only one to experience them. Even the most successful people in the world do!
There’s a highly successful Brazilian footballer called Kaka. One time, he was asked in an interview if he gets nervous before big games. He said yes, but that he views that as a good thing because it means he is ready to perform. His focus is on the game ahead – nothing else matters.
So next time you have a presentation, channel Kaka and understand that you are ready to excel!
How do you speak to yourself before you go into a presentation? Are you building yourself up, or pushing yourself down?
If your internal voice is saying things like:
“I’m a terrible speaker”
“This is going to be awful”
“Nobody is going to take me seriously”
That will reflect on the outside too.
Give yourself the benefit of the doubt and be nicer to yourself in the run-up to your presentation.
If you tell yourself “I’m going to do my best”, you are more likely to plan your speech, prepare more effectively, and get feedback from others. You will put more care into it, which will lead to a better result.
Attitude leads to action, and action leads to results.
Finally, understanding how to manage your reactions is crucial to help overcome your fear of public speaking.
It is inevitable that at some point during your presentation, something will go wrong. This could be that:
- Your PowerPoint stops working
- You freeze and forget your content
- You face a disruptive audience member
- You are asked a difficult question
Preparing how you react in advance is key to remaining calm and confident because you already know your next step.
For example: if you freeze, your reaction could be to take a long pause or ask the audience a question. This gives you the opportunity to collect your thoughts and then continue with your content.
Want your team to overcome their fear fast?
If you work in an organisation where your staff are required to deliver presentations, the fear of public speaking could be preventing them from performing at their best.
My bespoke team training programme could turn things around. I will cover the areas your team struggles with, challenging them to improve their skills and overcome their fears in an engaging and supportive environment.
They will also get the chance to put what they have learned to the test, as they will deliver a speech and then get personal feedback not just from me, but from their colleagues too. What better way is there to overcome a fear of public speaking than by jumping in and doing it?!
You can find out more by emailing Kyle@confidencebydesign.co.uk