Public speaking is a common fear in many students and adults alike. At schools, it’s been found that at least 75% of the students experience the fear of public speaking, while it is also acclaimed to be one of the top fears in all walks of people across the globe.
Glossophobia, or the fear of speaking in public, refers to the irrational fear and nervousness that grips a person at the very thought of speaking in a group, or delivering a speech or even answering a question in a class even though you know it’s correct. It is instinctive, but the reason behind this fear could be that you are afraid that your words are not deserving; that nobody would listen to you or accept what you are saying, or just that you are very scared that you will somehow mess up and everything will go wrong.
How to overcome the fear of Public Speaking
- As much as these worries are real, realise they are preventing you from exploring your full potential. Hence, first advice is to let go for once, and try speaking despite fear.
- A speaker can easily connect with the audience if they understand clearly what each is saying to the other. Talking in a common language helps you establish that connect
- Take attention off yourself. When you are on stage and in the spotlight, give heed to the audience and your ambience etc, but try not to think about how you are feeling. This will reduce anxiety and you will feel more confident.
- Speaking and reading are two very different things. While reading is recitation, speaking is narration. So, to make your speech interesting, use proper tone and intonation, add some pitch, and talk at a medium pace.
- Try to make your talk a little bit conversational. I.e., interact with your audience and engage them in your speech. This will not only help you create a tension free environment, but also add to your content.
- Practice your speech at least 5 times before going onto the speech, with your friends as your audience. Identify if you are dragging your speech, and the places to improve with regard to content quality, appropriateness and speech delivery.
- Keep an eye contact and maintain it. It gives an impression of empathy.
- Dress sharply as per the occasion. People tend to gravitate towards those whose attire grabs attention!