By Trishla Gupta:
Let’s start by first asking ourselves the most important question, “What is public speaking?” Does public speaking mean only addressing gatherings of hundred people and nothing less? No, and herein lies our first misunderstanding.
Public speaking is simply the process of speaking to a group of people in a structured, deliberate manner intended to inform, influence, or entertain the listeners. Hence it can mean speaking to twenty people or hundred people whatever the case may be. The important point here is that in public speaking we share our opinions, views, ideas with an audience.
So where does the problem lie? Why is public speaking the most common fear of people, second only to death?
From my experiences of interacting with people, I have gathered that one of the most important reasons of this fear is that we are worried about being judged negatively or criticized. As in, most of our other endeavors in life, herein too we are most concerned of what others will think about us. “If I forget will they laugh at me?Â Will I disappoint those people who know me well and expect a lot? Will they be interested in what I say?”
The fear is all about ME. What if I choke, what if I mess up, what if I don’t remember.Â Â Me me me.
When we are nervous, it is because we are worried about ourselves. I will mess up. I will lose my train of thought. I will look like a moron. I will be boring. Me me me.
But the minute it stops being about “me” and starts being about the content and the audience the better you will feel. What we do end up forgetting is that the only way we can give a good speech or be a good speaker is when we stop thinking about others and instead enjoy the process of voicing ones thoughts. It is important for us to realize that the more we think about others, the more keyed up we get and the result is that we either forget what we had to say or talk in order to get over with the whole thing. We should never try to understand whether our audience likes our talk or is waiting for it to get over, while giving a speech. Looks can be deceptive they say!! We should just enjoy the whole process of talking before an audience, and that itself will take care of the rest. The more relaxed you are, the more your audience will enjoy what you speak.
There are a number of tips available across the net, about how to handle your fear of public speaking, but the most effective tip that I feel and know from experience is to just practice, be confident and then relax. The more you practice, the more confident you will be. Also remember that your audience does’nt know the full content of your speech. So even if you forget they will never realize it until and unless you stop or start stammering. Never just blindly learn the content of your talk. Always understand it so that you do not have to keep getting worried about forgetting a line or a word and it will also help in having an interactive session with the audience rather than a long monologue.
The following are some useful questions and answers which might help you overcome your fear of public speaking:
How can I relax while giving a speech?
What is the best way to prepare for my speech?
What is the best way to practice for a speech?
What can I do if I lose my place and get all flustered?
I am too nervous to have good eye contact. What can I do to help?
My gestures look forced, should I leave my hands at my side. This makes me even more nervous. How can I have relaxed gestures?
What do I do if I drop my cards?
Hopefully this article will help those of you who have faced inhibitions before speaking before an audience to overcome them and emerge a better speaker.
Tips and Steps sourced from: http://www.essortment.com/all/overcomingfear_num.htm