How To Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking

Public speaking is the process of informing, influencing and entertaining a group of people. Public speaking has five important elements often expressed as "who is saying what to whom using what medium with what effects?" It is an important tool to be used for purposes like motivation, influence, persuasion, informing, translation, or simple entertainment. Language and rhetoric use are the two most important aspects of public speaking.

People have a common fear of public speaking which is called glossophobia. Based on what Jerry Seinfeld said: "the average person at a funeral would rather be in the casket than reciting the eulogy." Most people find public speaking stressful. As you try to tell the crowd what your views are, some of them would agree or disagree - making you feel nervous and think that there is something wrong in your speech. 

Speaking in front of an audience can be stressful but it is one of the most important skills an individual can have. Great people like Adolf Hitler and Martin Luther King, Jr. are some examples of effective orators. Their public speaking has a significant impact on society; changing beliefs and social norms. You do not have to be great to be able to deliver an oration properly. To be able to conquer your fear in talking to lots of people, keep these key principles in mind:

  • Public speaking is not inherently stressful. People are not born to be afraid of speaking in front of people. It is not a genetic trait that can be passed from someone else. Being able to provide an oration can be done by anyone.

  • You don't have to be a genius or be perfect in delivering public speeches. It doesn't matter if you make mistakes or if you don't have all the answers. What matters is that you give something of value to the crowd. Make them feel that they learned something from your speech.

  • All you need is a few main points: two or three would do. You don't have to be a walking encyclopedia to impress your audience. Focusing on these main points will be easier for them to remember and have a strong impact to your listeners. 

  • Humor and humility can help in giving a speech. A little humor can lighten up the atmosphere, making you and your audiences feel more comfortable. You can use humility as a technique by admitting your mistakes and frailties. Being humble makes you more credible, more believable and even more respected.

  • You don't have to control audience's behavior. Control your own thoughts, your preparation and your choice of words. If someone gets fidgety, reads a newspaper or falls asleep, just leave them alone. It is natural for some people to be like that. Focus on the topic and how you deliver it. 

  • People listening to your speech want to see you succeed. Most of them are just like you - they are also afraid of public speaking. Don't overreact on a single mispronunciation. They know you are human and you are capable of committing mistakes. Give your speech and the idea you want them to think about and remember regardless of any mistakes you make.

The fear of public speaking can be overcome with these key principles in mind. Along with confidence and a positive attitude, your oration can go smoothly with an audience. Speak out and give them something to think about.


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