How to get over your fear of public speaking

Are you afraid of public speaking? You certainly aren’t alone; this fear is called glossophobia, which has been estimated to affect roughly 75% of people, as stated on the  British Council website. Glossophobia symptoms include stomach knots, throat tightness and shaky legs. Before delivering a speech, we often worry about other people’s opinions or the possibility of us losing track of what we are supposed to say. However, the following techniques can help you overcome the fear.

Learn from the professionals

You would expect the thoroughly experienced actress Emma Watson not to have nerves when performing in front of an audience. However, when giving a speech at the United Nations on 20 September 2016, she actually came across as nervous to begin with; her confidence increasingly grew as the speech went on. Her techniques included slowing the pace of her speaking and taking pauses – and these tactics could help you in your public speaking endeavours, too.

“Fake it ’til you make it”

You might already be familiar with this idiom, which is basically suggesting that by making yourself look like you know what you are doing, you can make a positive impact for real. HuffPost says that “many signs of nerves are not visible to the audience, even though they feel overwhelming to you”. So, for example, if you forget a section of the speech, you could improvise until you remember what you were actually meant to be saying.

Visualise success

It can be too easy to, just before speech time arrives, imagine scenarios where things go off the rails to humiliating effect. No wonder your pre-speech nerves could run rampant! However, you could turn all of that on its head by imagining a successful situation instead. Picture the audience showing appreciation – such as through clapping or laughing – of what you are uttering. Still, you can also plan what you will do if a particular much-dreaded scenario indeed happens.

Be yourself on stage

Your audience can better connect with you when they discern that you aren’t simply putting on an act. To help illustrate this point, Forbes contributor Brian Scudamore recalls an occasion when he spoke to one of the planet’s biggest Orthodox Jewish business groups.

Though this group’s members adhered to formality, including in their attire, Scudamore wore a T-shirt and sneakers at his presentation – for which he received a standing ovation. Also consider the example of Steve Jobs, who often used words like “cool” and “awesome” seemingly spontaneously.

Take relevant training to help calm the nerves

If you work in sales, then learning to overcome a public speaking phobia can be especially beneficial, as delivering presentations could help you secure sales. At Frosch Learning, we offer various sales courses that could help you hone your sales skills.

These options include open sales courses, where you can meet like-minded professionals from your industry. Meanwhile, our in-house training includes two courses focusing on presentation skills: one course is called Selling to a Group, the other is named Team Selling.