Overcoming The Three Most Common Fears In Public Speaking
It is estimated that 75% of the population struggles with a fear of public speaking. However, despite what can be an intense fear experienced by most individuals, public speaking is a necessary part of everyday life. From seminars to meeting presentations, it is next to impossible for professionals to completely avoid speaking to groups. If you aren’t one of the select few who has little to no fear when it comes to talking in front of a crowd, you may be dreading your next speaking engagement.
Thankfully, there are effective steps that you can take to reduce (or even eliminate) your fear. When it comes to public speaking, there are many reasons people become afraid. Identifying the root cause of your fear is an exceptional way to calm your nerves. Discover the best ways to overcome three of the most common fears in public speaking.
“I’m not enough of an expert on my topic”
Don’t have a PhD related to the topic you are speaking about? Even if you have little formal education about a subject, your resume credentials are good enough. Anyone can become an expert on a subject for the length of a presentation or a speech. The key to overcoming this fear is research and preparation. If you are nervous about appearing to your audience as a novice, you may not have prepared enough. Until the time of your speech, dedicate a small portion of each day to study your topic. You should also rehearse your speech, as this will give you added confidence and opportunity to craft your message to sound like an expert.
“I’m going to make mistakes”
This is likely the #1 fear of people who are afraid to speak in public. The first step to extinguishing your fear of making mistakes is to change your mindset. Your negative thoughts have the power to shape your message, and can quickly become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Instead, use the concept of self-fulfilling prophecies for your benefit. Change your internal thoughts from “What if I make a mistake?” to “I am going to give an exceptional speech.” Even if your public speaking isn’t flawless (which is true of almost everyone), you will still perform better when your thoughts are positive. Additionally, you can reduce the risk of mistakes further by practicing your speech as much as possible.
“I’m afraid my anxiety will be obvious”
Even if you think that your audience can see your anxiety, chances are that they cannot. Despite this fact, it is difficult to combat the fear of displaying your nervousness to others. Your main tool in overcoming this specific fear should be using deep breathing techniques. You can use deep breathing before, during, and after your speech to effectively battle your nerves. Having adequate oxygen flow to your brain and your body will help keep you calm and will limit the appearance of the signs of anxiety.
Whether you have one or all of the common fears associated with public speaking, there are simple and reliable ways to overcome each fear. Research, daily practice, positive thinking, and deep breathing are activities that can be a public speaker’s best friend. Depending on your specific concerns, try the strategies listed above and find what works best for you.