Have a fear of public speaking? You’re definitely not alone. Being afraid of public speaking ranks higher than other common phobias, including death, spiders, and heights.
Fortunately, there are simple ways to overcome your fear of public speaking and strategies you can implement.
Interested in learning more? Here are some tips to help you overcome your fear.
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As the old adage goes, practice makes perfect. What scares so many people specifically about public speaking is not knowing what to say or freezing up on stage. That’s why a little preparation can go a long way.
Practice in the mirror, on the way to work, and with friends. Create a no or low-stakes environment that feels safe, then gradually work your way up.
You might also consider taking public speaking classes. Toastmasters is a great, low-cost place you can start pretty much anywhere in the world. (These tips from Moxie Institute might also be helpful.)
2. Master Your Breath
Mastering your breath can help you overcome your fear of public speaking by controlling your physiology. We always hear the advice to “take a deep breath,” but it’s actually sound when it comes to fearful endeavors.
Inhaling slowly through the nose and out through the mouth helps activate your parasympathetic nervous system. This system helps lower your heart rate, relax your mind, and gives you a chance to slow things down if you get nervous.
There are plenty of public speaking strategies out there, but breathing is free and easy to use. Start practicing today!
3. Make the Subject Matter Interesting
You’ll be less nervous if you’re presenting on subjects you enjoy or care deeply about. A little passion or joy can go a long way, even if it’s just distracting you.
This tip might not seem applicable for a school project (if you don’t like the class, that is). But try to find something that sparks your interest to focus on when writing your presentation. You might be surprised how much it takes your mind off what you have to do.
4. Try Fear Journaling
If all else fails, grab a pen and a piece of paper. Take five to ten minutes to write out what exactly you’re afraid of when it comes to public speaking.
Then, ask yourself a question that might seem odd: what’s the worst thing that can happen?
Spend a few minutes describing the worst-case scenario for your presentation or speech. This technique, known as fear journaling, is powerful for helping clarify what’s making you anxious and setting those fears aside.
By naming your fears and identifying the worst possible outcome—which almost always isn’t as bad as it seems—you might find the courage to do it after all.
Overcoming the Fear of Public Speaking
Even though it’s a common fear, these simple tips to help you overcome your fear of public speaking are plentiful.
Try breathing deeply, practicing regularly, and even writing out your fears to help you deliver the best presentation possible.
For more business and lifestyle tips, check out the rest of our blog!