Glossophobia – the fear of public speaking.
Speaking to a group of people can be a daunting task, so much so that there is a word in the dictionary for it. In fact, the fear of public speaking is very common. According to Psychology Today, approximately 25 percent of individuals have reported feeling anxious, nervous, and even debilitated when speaking in front of others.
In our industry, public speaking is a job requirement. Not only does our team present projects, industry news and ideas to our clients and community daily, but we also train our clients to speak with the public and media. So, today we are here to offer up our top four tips to help successfully conquer your next public speaking engagement!
Tip #1: Practice & Start Small
When it comes to public speaking, the saying “practice makes perfect” is true. The more often you speak in front of crowds, the more comfortable you will get and the less likely you are to feel anxious. Our first tip is to start practicing in front of a small group of family and friends. From there, work your way up to larger crowds with people you don’t know as well. As you continue to speak more in front of others, you’ll gain confidence and hopefully overcome your fear.
Tip #2: Be Prepared
When speaking publicly, avoid stress by knowing your material well and feeling confident on the topic. When you are prepared, having blank moments or stumbling through the information is less likely to occur. In addition, being prepared includes having extra information to share in case you have time to spare. Remember to practice your presentation or speech to make sure it fits within the time constraints and so you know how to pronounce all the words. Arrive early to have time to make sure your equipment is operating and compatible with the equipment that may be at the speaking venue. Feeling prepared eases anxiety and nerves, which will help lighten the mood with your audience. Remember, if you focus on the fact you are communicating information instead of giving a presentation, that can help lessen the pressure you feel.
Tip #3: Engage Your Audience
One way to reduce the pressure of presenting in front of a large crowd is to have the audience interact with the presentation. Instead of lecturing on your topic, make the presentation a two-way conversation. Ask the audience questions and incorporate activities that help reduce boredom, but also take the attention away from you. This also gives time to regather your thoughts if the presentation seems to be going off track. Plus, find that one person in the audience who is a friendly face and focus on them as if you are having a conversation.
Tip #4: Acknowledge & Manage Stress
The few minutes leading up to a public speaking engagement can be the most nerve-wracking. It is important to acknowledge your stress and find strategies that work for you to reduce this stress. Some tricks to reduce stress before presenting to a group can include deep belly breathing, using positive visualization and performing light exercises, such as walking around the building or stretching.
Implementing public speaking into your larger marketing plan will help boost brand awareness among your target audiences. If you want more tips and tricks to help conquer public speaking or would be interested in training, reach out to us today. We are here to help you and your brand succeed!