Ask anyone attending networking events, in fact ask anyone in business what they fear the most and the answer most often given is public speaking, people are afraid of public speaking. Yet public speaking is not a modern day concept, the ancient Greeks held public speaking forums, and even before then and throughout history it is known to have existed.
For today’s speaker there seems to be this almost unnatural foreboding associated with speaking in public, people are worried about forgetting what to say, of offending people, of not saying what they have planned to say, they are afraid of the attention and well everything the imagination can conjure up, it seems.
However, that sense of foreboding does not have to exist, it’s actually more a myth than it is, a reality. People today are searching for answers, hope, inspiration as well as motivation and change in their lives. For this reason, the public speaker has everything going for them.
Why People Freeze When Speaking
There are numerous reasons why people freeze when speaking, and the biggest reason is fear:
- Fear of making a mistake
- Fear of embarrassment
- Fear of offending someone in the audience
- Fear of not being able to answer a question and give up credibility
- Fear of failure
- Fear of freezing up and forgetting what you were going to say
Some of these fears are understandable, and when considered all together as a whole, it is no wonder why an individual speaker would freeze up. However, there are many ways to overcome these fears.
How to Overcome Your Fears of Public Speaking
Make sure you know your subject matter
If you know everything there is to know about LinkedIn and how best to use it to get business, you would not talk about how to catch fish with a particular lure, because you wouldn’t have sufficient knowledge in the subject. Therefore stick to those subjects that you are well versed in, and this will give you the confidence you need to get up and get out there.
Practice makes perfect
Although it may sound corny, it does help to practice in front of a mirror and even your family, friends, and neighbors before trying it out with a live audience. By doing so, this will give you much-needed rehearsal and the opportunity to pick and choose the inflections and tone of your voice. It also embeds confidence in you to believe in yourself and in your ability to deliver your speech.
Keep helping others as your focus
If you go out there and focus on yourself rather than the message you have to put out, you will most likely freeze up. When you make it about helping others, and simply about sharing your knowledge you are in the giving mode and not the receiving mode.
Rehearse some worst-case scenarios
Things sometimes I go wrong speaking, that’s a fact but if you if you rehearse some worst case scenarios before speaking publicly, you will almost certainly find that nothing even close to those scenarios will happen. This gives you confidence for next time you speak, and by being prepared you will never be caught unawares.
Putting these tips into practice will help you to prepare yourself and give you the confidence you need to get your message out there and to speak in public. Once you’ve done it a few times, if you are like me you’ll learn to enjoy it and you’ll never fear public speaking again.