Tips On Managing Public Speaking Anxiety
If there is anything most speakers can attest to, it is the initial wave of nervousness that washes over you as you approach the stage, as your name is called, or as you begin to talk. This is even more believable as a survey carried out by the Wall Street Journal listed public speaking as the number one fear in America with the fear of death ranked as number two. As terrifying as it seems to get on stage and successfully deliver a speech, some people make it look so easy! Don’t they get nervous at all? You bet they do. They just know how to mask it or manage it better than others and you can too. Outlined are a few tips to help you manage public speaking anxiety.
1. Dress properly
Anxiety is often borne out of the fear of what your audience might think of you, and this places your self-confidence at risk. Without a doubt, your audience would assess you. However, you are in control of the first impression they have of you when you dress well. Dressing well also gives you an added dose of confidence to take on the crowd.
2. Know your content (especially your introduction)
It is almost impossible not to be anxious when you don’t know what speech you are giving in the first place. Unless it is an impromptu speech, you must understand your content well. It also helps to know the first few lines of your speech as that is what draws in your audience. Make it catchy and exciting. The rest of the work involves you sharing what you know from your reservoir of knowledge. If you know what to talk about, you’ll glide on with ease.
3. Try not to memorize
Cramming is always a bad idea with speeches. Not only does it make your speech rigid, you are at the risk of forgetting your lines or pausing because you can’t seem to find one word. A better way to go is to use outlines. This is because when you remember your outlines, you can go on explaining your message the best way you know how to in that moment. This would make you freer and more in control of your speech.
4. Engage your audience
Bad speakers would usually avoid making eye contact or engaging with their audience. While this makes you disconnected from your audience, it also makes you vulnerable – like you are giving a monologue in front of a panel of angry judges. A better option is to use rhetoric’s, questions, and light banter to engage your audience. You would be amazed at how their subtle nods of approval and laughter would make you feel better.
5 . Stay positive
Smile! Most of all that anxiety is in your head and your audience probably cannot see it. It is important to stay calm and focus on how awesome your speech is. Focus on the people that seem most interested in your speech and try not to let negative thoughts becloud your mind. You’ve got this.