Whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert, it is highly likely that public speaking scares you. Even if it doesn’t and you are working on honing this skill, speaking in public probably still makes you nervous. But never let that fear or nervousness get in your way. You can become a fearless speaker — or at least one who can courageously face his or her fear — if you keep in mind these four simple concepts.
Great Speakers Are Made … Not Born
Many people who are afraid of public speaking assume great speakers are born that way. In truth, those who appear to be “natural-born” and fearless speakers have spent a great deal of time becoming good at speaking in front of an audience. Speaking is a skill that can be developed over time. You too can become a great speaker by learning and practicing. If you need to speak publicly a lot for your job, consider joining a Toastmaster’s club to get the tips, support, and practice you’ll need.
Learn more about skill vs. talent here:
- Public Speaking Tip #16: The Difference Between Skill and Talent
- Introduction: Superman or Batman? Is Public Speaking a Learned Skill or Something You Are Born Being Able to Do?
Change your Mindset about Fearless Speaking
If one of the reasons you fear public speaking is because you once gave a terrible presentation, you may have to change that negative mindset. But you can do it! Rather than focusing on the one bad speech you gave, think of all the ones you gave that were successful. These can be less formal, like in a team meeting or in a one-on-one client meeting. Remind yourself that it’s normal to be nervous. This is our body’s way of preparing us to do our best.
If you listen to the podcast, you’ll find that several of these now successful speakers started off badly. One person blacked out. Another got sick to his stomach. Another froze. The stories go on and on. But each of the overcame their fears and emerged a seemingly fearless speaker. So can you!
Practice and Rehearse
Devoting a generous amount of time preparing for your speech will help you become a confident public speaker. Winston Churchill, one of the most powerful public speakers of our time cited lots of practice as his “secret” to great speechmaking. For every minute presenting, he dedicated an hour in rehearsing his speeches. So, for every 10 minutes of a speech he rehearsed for 10 hours! This just goes to show how much of an impact practice can make in turning anyone into a confident public speaker.
“The most professional person, the person who looks the most natural,” says Featured Speaker Wendy Kinney, “is the person who is the most practiced and the most prepared.”
Prepare with Dedication
When we dread doing something, we often will procrastinate about doing it. This, in almost every case, causes us more stress than if we’d just get cracking with it. Allow yourself plenty of time to prepare for your speech. You’ll need time to come up with the exact language you want to use, the main points you want to cover and the examples and stories you’ll need to explain any concepts. Going in knowing that you are prepared is one of the best ways to relieve dread and nervousness and come off looking fearless. Remember how you felt going into a big test in school, knowing you hadn’t studied enough (or at all)? We always do a better job when we go in having spent time preparing for the task ahead.
Finally, keep in mind that fearlessness really isn’t a lack of fear. It is having the courage to face your fear of speaking and get up on that stage and speak anyway.
Does Speaking Make You Nervous?
Discover 13 practices that will help alleviate your presentation fears and anxiety.
Inside You’ll Learn:
- Five ways to reduce anxiety before your audience arrives.
- Four practices to reduce anxiety as your audience arrives.
- Four things you can do to calm down right before stepping up to the platform.