We fear public speaking over the idea of developing cancer, drowning, heights, etc. Why is that? No one is born a natural public speaker, each individual has the chance to become a proficient speaker. I love public speaking and would rather give a presentation compared to taking a test. I’ve spoken to groups as small as four people to as large as 400. Being confident with public speaking takes practice, but here are some tips to reduce stage fright when giving a speech.
Don’t worry about the size of the audience. This is the most common anxiety individuals have when giving a speech. Some speakers say, “I’d rather speak in front of a small group compared to a larger one”. For me, I am the opposite. However, the amount in your audience doesn’t matter. Focus on having a conversation with those listening; this will help ease the tension.
It’s okay to be nervous! I would be lying if I said I don’t get nervous before giving a speech. If you see a speaker who is nervous what do you think? “Oh, I’d be nervous if I was them too!”. The audience is going to give some sympathy, but when I give a speech I think of being the leader. You are up in front and telling what you think. You are having the upper hand because you are controlling the topic the audience will be listening to.
Don’t think the audience is judging you. Most of the time the audience is there to hear what you have to say and they are genuinely interested. Everyone might not agree with what you have to say, but that’s okay. However, if you are under prepared for this presentation, the audience will judge you accordingly. There is no one to blame, but yourself in that case.
Practice makes perfect! Practice deep breathing techniques to implement before you give your presentation. This definitely helps reduce anxiety and creates relaxation. Be sure to breathe through your diaphragm during your speech to make sure you don’t run out of air while speaking. Also, never compare yourself to others. There are people who do speaking everyday, so they have enough practice and can implement their skills. Practice your speaking by looking in the mirror to watch how you deliver or ask a friend to give you feedback. The more you practicing speaking, the easier it is going to be for you.