Personal Development

How to Overcome Your Fear of Public Speaking Easily

The Fear of Public Speaking is a fear that is common among many people. It is the fear of standing in front of an audience and talking. The fear can also be called Stage Fright, but it doesn't just apply to stage performances. This article will explore the different types of fears that are related to public speaking, as well as what you can do to overcome them.

“There are only two types of speakers in the world, those who get nervous and those who lie.” – Mark Twain

How to Overcome Your Fear of Public Speaking Easily

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Why do We Fear Public Speaking?

The way these fears show up can vary from person to person, to make it simple we could look at in falling into two categories.

Fear of Presentation

This type of fear is about the anticipation and experience of giving a formal presentation in front of an audience. It includes any type of presentation, including speeches, lectures, or even teaching a class.

Fear of Audience

This type has to do with the idea that one's audience might not like what they have to say or how they say it, the fear of being rejected by a group (the audience/listener) plays a big part of this fear.

Public speaking is often considered one of the most terrifying tasks. The fear of presenting oneself to a group of people and being judged, scrutinised, and criticised can often feel paralysing.

Public speaking is one of the most common fears in our society today. Even though it is just a skill that needs to be learned and practiced, it can be very intimidating for those who are not used to it. If you want to overcome this fear, there are many ways to do so.

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A.K.A Glossophobia

The fear of public speaking is a fear of the social consequences of speaking in a public setting. It is also called glossophobia, which literally means "tongue-fear."

Public speaking anxiety (PSA) is the most common type of social anxiety disorder and one of the most common fears in the world. It affects more than 75% of people at some point in their lives.

This fear has been documented for centuries, with some reports dating back to Ancient Greece. The ancient Greek philosopher Plato said that "the power and function of speech are to express the desires, thoughts and emotions."

The Importance of Strong Communication Skills

Public speaking is an important skill that is often overlooked. It can be a difficult skill to master, but it can also be one of the most rewarding skills in your professional life. Speaking skills are important because they allow you to effectively communicate with an audience (or single person) to share your ideas or thoughts.

Some of the benefits of improving your communication skills include:

  • Build self-confidence
  • Learn to control nerves and overcome stage fright
  • Learn how to prepare for a speech or presentation
  • Become a more effective communicator
  • Be seen as the expert
  • Increase your credibility
  • Grow your influence
  • Increased personal happiness
  • Expand your professional network
  • Career Advancement
  • Become a better leader

Public speaking is a very important skill because it can help you in all aspects of your life. It can help you with your career, it can help you with interviews, and it can even be helpful when it comes to dealing with social situations. Being able to speak publicly is important for anyone who wants to be successful in any aspect of their life.

The importance of strong communication skills cannot be overstated. The ability to speak well in front of an audience is a key part of success for many people, from CEOs and politicians to teachers and managers.

Warren Buffett summed it up in a single sentence - “If you can't communicate and talk to other people and get across your ideas, you're giving up your potential.”

The Benefits of Public Speaking

Public speaking is one of the most sought-after skills in today’s world. It has become an essential part of any profession, and it is important for everyone to master this skill.

Public speaking not only helps you communicate better with others, but it also helps you become a better leader. Public speaking builds confidence and increases your efficiency at work. It also helps you express yourself more clearly and it improves your self-esteem.

As you develop your confidence around public speaking you will find yourself taking advantage of more opportunities both in your personal and professional life.

The Techniques for Overcoming Your Fear of Public Speaking

Public speaking is a skill that is necessary in almost any profession, if you have to speak to another human you need to work on your speaking (communication) skills. Yet, it can be one of the most challenging skills to master. There are many techniques for overcoming your fear of public speaking in all honesty though, taking action and putting yourself out there is the key.

Below are a few ideas that will help you overcome your fear of public speaking, if you want to know my favourite (that are not in the list below) make sure you check out this video.

Do Your Homework

The first step to overcoming your fear of public speaking is to take action and learn as much as you can about the topic and how to present it in a way that feels right for you. It's important that you're comfortable and confident with what you're saying and how you're saying it.

On a side note - I have noticed not only with the people I have coached but also in myself, there is often a feeling of not knowing enough, even though the person is very experienced on the subject. I believe this comes down to imposter syndrome.

Imposter Syndrome refers to the feeling that people are not intelligent enough to do their job and are, therefore, a fraud, often seen in individuals with a high-achieving personality type, they will begin to doubt their accomplishments and intellectual capacity.

Who are You?

Understanding how you want to be perceived by the audience allows you to deliver the content in a way that you feel comfortable with. A good exercise is to think of three words that you would like the audience to use to describe you as a presenter, then think about how that person would look, sound and present.

Build Your Confidence Muscle

For those of you that are gym averse DO NOT fear, zero grunting hulks will need to be listened to.

When I am training teams on confidence I like to explain it as three ingredients:

  1. It’s a skill - There are things you need to know
  2. It’s situational - You might be confident speaking in a boardroom, however put you on a stage and you suddenly find it nerve wracking
  3. It’s active - Meaning confidence is like a muscle, you need to train it by ‘Doing’. The moment you stop ‘doing’ the muscle will start to fade away. Doing a presentation once a year isn’t going to build that muscle, you need to take any opportunity you get.

See Success

Some people have found success with using visualisation techniques such as imagining themselves on stage, giving their speech and getting a standing ovation at the end. This technique is great for those who suffer from performance anxiety because it lets them see themselves succeeding and not just failing.

When I was starting out I bought a copy of Paul McKenna’s grow your confidence book which came with a visualisation/hypnosis CD, for about 6 months I would listen to the track twice a day.

Make It Bite Size

Others find success with a technique called “chunking” which involves breaking down their speech into small manageable parts and then practicing each part individually before putting it all together at once. This helps to keep them from getting overwhelmed by the task that they may be facing which can be very helpful for those who suffer from social anxiety disorder or panic attacks.

Get Coaching

If you want to take your public speaking seriously attending a public speaking class or getting coaching is going to be the fastest way to improve. Getting feedback (even if it can feel brutal) will highlight things you don’t realise you doing and give you a proven structure to work from as you develop your public speaking skills.

There are many techniques that can help you overcome your public speaking anxiety and fear of public speaking, but it is up to you to find what works best for you.

“It is not failure itself that holds you back; it is the fear of failure that paralyses you.” - Brian Tracy

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How to Prepare for a Public Speaking Event - Practical Tips & Tricks

There are many ways to prepare for a public speaking event and it all depends on the person and their preferences. Some people like to prepare by writing out what they want to say while others prefer doing it through trial and error while they're on stage, there is no right or wrong here, it is what works for you and makes you feel the most comfortable.

I have personally found that I like to create a skeleton framework of my presentation with the key areas/points that I want to hit and speak about, I am not one for memorising scripts, for me it doesn’t feel organic it also creates an extra stress having to memorise the words.

Using the framework I have developed to prepare a speech or presentation, gives me the peace of mind that I have a map of the journey I am going to take the audience on, however it gives me the freedom to play, expand and tell different stories along the way, whenever if I feel I am getting lost I can come straight back to map.

(N.B There are times when a script will HAVE to be followed due to the nature of the content)

I Suffered with Stage Fright

When I first got into the performing world I found it terrifying.

In the early days I would get really anxious in the run up to a gig, my negative brain would go in to over drive playing out worse case scenarios, I would get irritable and snappy with everyone around me, I even had night sweats to the point that I had to sleep on a towel in bed.

The only way that I overcame this fear was through facing it, by taking steps toward the very thing that I was scared of.

Even now after thousands of performances, after thousands of hours on stage, I will still get a feeling inside my body, my heart rate will speed up, I sense the wave of energy moving through my body, my mind clicks and lets me know that something is about to happen. The difference now is I have learnt to except this feeling as something that is going to help me, its a tool that I can use to move me forward.

At this moment in time you may be sat there reading this thinking - ‘NO I will never be confident enough to stand in front of people and deliver a speech’.

If that is you I want you to borrow my confidence, the confidence of someone who, once upon a time was in exactly the same situation as you, someone who thought they would never be able to do it, someone who now makes their living out of standing on stage communicating with a room full of people.

Borrow my confidence and step outside your comfort zone, a small step is all that is needed, next time you are in a meeting and find yourself holding back, be courageous and speak up. When you are next in line for coffee make a comment to the person in front of you. Next time an opportunity comes up to speak with the team, put your hand up and say that you would like to do it.

The only thing between where you are now vs where you want to be is action.

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Public speaking is the most common type of performance anxiety. It can lead to a variety of physical symptoms, including shaking, blushing, and sweating.

The best way to overcome the fear of public speaking is by taking action and using some (or all) of the techniques outlined in this article.

You may not be able to get rid of this fear, but you can make it easier on yourself by focusing on the benefits of public speaking rather than the disadvantages.

As you develop your confidence around public speaking you will find yourself taking advantage of more opportunities both in your personal and professional life.

I hope that you have found this article useful and feel inspired to step out of your comfort zone, one thing I will say is that once I started to develop my communication skills I noticed a huge difference in how I felt about myself and how I approached each day.

"The worst speech you’ll ever give, will be far better than the one you never give" - Fred Miller

You can also check out my online course here.

Anthony Laye
Featured Uplyrn Expert
Anthony Laye
Communications Skills Trainer, Motivational Speaker, Mindset Coach
Subjects of Expertise: Communications Skills, Influence, Leadership
Featured Uplyrn Expert
Anthony Laye
Communications Skills Trainer
Motivational Speaker
Mindset Coach

Subjects of Expertise

Communications Skills

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