The fear of public speaking is one of the top fears that people have. Statistics show that over 41% of people have some level of fear or anxiety with regards to speaking in front of an audience. This fear often manifests as excessive sweating, sweaty palms, increased heart rates, blanking out (memory loss), nausea and sometimes difficulty breathing. There are many speakers who have been in front of audiences for years and they still deal with anxiety to some degree.
Since having this fear often has no bearing on whether you have to do a presentation or not, you’ll have to find some ways to overcome your anxiety. The first step is to know that you are not alone and that you can prepare in advance so that the level of fear you feel is significantly reduced. Here are some other interesting statistics.
– Proper presentation and rehearsal of your message can reduce your fear by about 75%.
– Utilizing breathing techniques can reduce your anxiety by another 15%.
– Preparing for your mental state can reduce your fear the remaining 10%.
With these statistics in mind, here are some preparation tips to help you relax and reduce how you feel before going in front of your audience.
1. Know the environment you will speak in. Become familiar with the area by arriving early and walking around. Know how much space you have and the physical distance between you and your audience. As you acclimate yourself to your stage, you will find yourself feeling more comfortable.
2. Know your audience. You should find out who comprises your audience and do some research to find out their likes and dislikes. When they enter the room, greet them and take time to get to know some faces.
3. Know your presentation inside and out. If you don’t know what you’ll be presenting how can you expect yourself to feel fearless?
4. Implement breathing techniques to help you relax. Breathing techniques have been scientifically proven to invigorate the body and help you get rid of nervousness.
5. See yourself on stage before you actually get there. Replay images of your successful presentation in your mind. If you visual success, you’ll find it.
6. Know that your audience wants you to succeed. Your success means they get what they want and need. If they’ve paid money to attend your presentation, they have a personal stake in your success. If you’re providing training, they have a personal stake in your success. If you’re delivering a graduation speech at a local university, the graduating class has a personal stake. Get the idea? Your audience wants you to succeed.
7. Don’t draw attention to your being nervous. Many people won’t even realize that you are nervous. Most times you will find that while you have your audience’s attention, they are really thinking about themselves. They are absorbing what you say and processing that into how that relates to them.
8. Know that there is a purpose to your message. You have a message to deliver. Sometimes it’s a cause that you are passionate about. Other times, it may be training that your company needs you to give.
Preparation is the key to your success! Through preparation, you can also overcome most if not all of the feelings of fear that you might have so prepare, prepare, prepare!