Do you feel scared to speak on a stage? Do your palms start sweating and heartbeat rise when you are asked to present in front of a crowd? Despite preparation, does your mind go blank when your eyes meet the audience? If you answered yes to any of the above questions, here is what you should know:
We all experience fear at some point in our lives – fear of spiders or fear of heights. One such commonly known fear is Glossophobia – the fear of speaking on a stage. According to experts, it is estimated that 77% of the world’s population has some degree of anxiety related to public speaking. Thereby, making it the number one fear faced by individuals before death.
Fear is a primitive human emotion that triggers the brain to produce a natural response of ‘Fight or Flight’. It is for you to choose.
Whether you want to run away from every opportunity to speak on a stage by letting the fear conquer you?
Do you want to look straight in the eyes of fear, grab every opportunity, and make significant efforts to conquer it?
While looking at famous influencers like Lilly Singh, Tony Robbins, Gary Vaynerchuk, etc. on their peak of success, we think they might have been born with a superpower to impact millions of people with their speaking ability. But what we forget is that even the most seasoned speakers and performers were once in the same place where you are right now. Here is one such person’s story:
The 5 fundamental steps to overcome the fear of public speaking:
Mark Twain once said, “There are only two types of speakers in the world: the nervous and the liars.”
The more you try to run away from fear, the faster it will try to find you. It is important to recognize and accept the fact that going on stage might make you nervous, sweaty, blank, or raises your heartbeat. In the book, The things you can see only when you slow down, Haemin Sunim explains how if you quietly observe your feelings without trying to change them, you will slowly watch it change and lose its power.
The next time someone invites you to speak, walk up to the stage as you feel your heart pound faster, look at all the eyes staring back at you, inhale a deep breath and observe everything that happens within you.
Preparation often helps you build confidence as you know exactly what to speak about. Preparation will help you provide a structure for the speech. Cue cards will help you jot down points to be addressed while speaking. Conscious preparation which involves preparing for voice modulation and body language will help you while delivering the speech.
A well-prepared speaker also prepares on what to tell the audience when he is not familiar with the topic.
“Practice daily, because the quality of your practice determines the caliber of your performance” as quoted by Robin S Sharma.
Public speaking is an art that can be mastered only over time. Practicing is the ultimate key to conquering your fear because when an individual faces stage over and over again, the level of fear gradually decreases. Even Jay Shetty overcame his stage fright through rigorous practice. However, remember that public speaking is an art and no art can ever be perfect.
Have a script, don’t memorize it
Most people use the script as gospel and end up mugging the whole thing. But, the best speakers don’t memorize their scripts. By memorizing the speech word to word you become rigid and disengage with the audience. You should use the script as cues – certain phrases or keywords that connect the stories together and familiarize yourself with your speech by practicing and being natural. Being a successful public speaker means you have to engage your audience.
Understand Your Audience
Understand your audience – What’s in it for them to listen to you? How are you going to add value to their lives or solve a pain point?
Once you nail down the purpose of the speech by looking at the speech in their perception instead of yours. This way you’ll be able to connect and engage with your audience better!
Don’t try to make your speech perfect. Instead, try to make it interesting every single time to address an audience.