Glossophobia, which is a pretty creative and technical word for the fear of public speaking, shows itself while you are giving or are about to give a presentation or a talk in front of other people. So does public speaking get easier? If you’re looking for a quick response to the question, the simple answer is yes. It does, really. It’s not really a straightforward solution, though. Because public speaking anxiety is a troublesome issue that keeps coming up. And you might think that things will never get simpler for you. But they will.
What is Public Speaking?
A presentation or talk delivered in front of a live audience is known as public speaking. Although impromptu presentations are common, the event is often formal or planned and can be a pivotal moment in one’s career.
Success in a variety of areas of life depends on your ability to express yourself clearly and honestly in front of others. A great public speaking ability may help you improve professionally, expand your company, and build productive partnerships. You may use it to spread concepts and inspire people to take action on problems that directly impact them and society as a whole. One must present a proposal, a concept, or a body of work in front of a crowd frequently in order to accomplish any of these goals the right way. And on occasion, fear is the sole barrier that divides you from your audience.
Why is Public Speaking so Difficult?
According to Mayo Clinic, anxiety frequently takes the shape of a fear of public speaking. From mild uneasiness to paralysing fear and terror, it can fluctuate in intensity. Many people who have this phobia either completely prevent public speaking situations or endure them while trembling and speaking shakily. But you can get over your fear if you prepare and practice.
Fear of public speaking is more closely tied to how the speaker thinks, feels, or behaves when confronted with speaking in front of an audience. People fear speaking in front of an audience for a variety of reasons. Some of these reasons have been highlighted in this article, but here are the four key elements to fear:
It has to do with how individuals view themselves as speakers and with public speaking. The anxiety frequently develops when people exaggerate the risks involved in sharing their views in public, considering the speech as a potential danger to their reputation, image, and likelihood of connecting with an audience. Anxiety and the dread of speaking in front of others can both be increased by one’s negative perceptions of themselves as a speaker.
Fear and anxiety are caused by the autonomous nervous system reacting to a potentially hazardous event. Simply put, our bodies get ready for battle when faced with a threat. This results in the emotional sensation of fear, which hinders our capacity to perform successfully in front of crowds. People eventually stop pursuing chances for public speaking as a result of it. According to some studies, certain people are more prone to feeling apprehensive while speaking in front of an audience because they normally exhibit greater levels of anxiety in a variety of situations.
How adept you are at public speaking is another aspect that affects your fear of it. Even though many individuals think they speak well naturally, there is always space for improvement. The speakers who succeed the most are those who practise their craft rather than depending solely on inherent talent. It is possible to improve this skill and improve public speaking proficiency in a variety of ways. Confidence grows with competence, and confidence is a strong deterrent to fear. However, confidence by itself does not guarantee excellent public speaking.
There are several circumstances that are more likely to make the majority of us feel apprehensive while presenting in a public arena, irrespective of the person being more prone to anxiety by nature or believing they are not good at public speaking. For instance, if you are discussing concepts that you haven’t yet spoken about in public, you could worry more about how others will react to them. Similarly, if you are preparing to speak in front of individuals who have more rank than you do, you might feel more anxiety.
How to Get Better at Public Speaking
Several times over, run through your whole presentation. Ask for feedback from a few individuals that you feel comfortable doing it for. Practising with a few more people you don’t know well may also be beneficial. Consider recording your speech so you can review it afterwards and identify where it needs work.
Know your subject
The more you know what you’re speaking about and the more enthusiastic you are about the subject the less inclined you are to make a mistake. Additionally, y You’ll be able to find your way back easily if you do feel lost. Spend some time preparing your answers to any inquiries the audience may have.
Concentrate on your content rather than your audience.
People focus more on fresh information than on how it is delivered. They might not realise that you’re anxious. If the audience does detect your anxiety, they could support you and would like your speech to go well. If you concentrate on how the audience will respond, you are much less likely to enjoy your work and more inclined to put it off. Because we are social creatures, we frequently seek the approval of others, and speeches frequently involve social interactions. However, don’t let it influence your decision to avoid public speaking.
Understand the importance of Body Language
- Stand strong and confident. Take a minute to stand in a commanding stance if you are feeling tense or apprehensive before giving your presentation. Just a few minutes of this can boost your testosterone levels, boost your self-confidence, and lower cortisol and anxiety levels.
- Establishing eye contact with the crowd and displaying an enthusiastic, vibrant physical presence. This helps in engaging the crowd with the speech, which can go a long way in how they remember your presentation. Learn more about engagement in this article. Additionally, eye contact communicates closeness, sincerity, compassion, and honesty.
- Facial expression is key. Your expressions should be in line with what you are saying. If you’re making a positive speech, present a carefree, happy expression on your face. Even though you do not really feel like it, try smiling when it’s appropriate; it could just improve your mood.
You must be able to create speeches that are logical, clear, and simple to comprehend and that address all the themes you want to discuss, whether you plan your talk in advance or simply wing it. You must understand how to utilise comedy and storytelling to be effective. Public speaking is a performing art form that also necessitates writing abilities. Many other skills are involved in writing, such as proofreading, revising, drafting, planning, and creating outlines.
One easy yet really powerful technique to boost our own performance is to see how others perform in public speaking. In psychology, modelling refers to the process of learning from the examples provided by individuals around you. Modelling is well summed up by the proverb “if he can do it, I can too.” If we see someone around our age and expertise give an excellent speech, it can increase our confidence in delivering a good speech.
Recognize your achievements
Give yourself a high five after your presentation or speech. Although it might not have been flawless, it’s likely that you hold yourself to a higher standard than your audience does. Check to see whether any of your particular issues materialised. Everyone makes errors occasionally. Any errors you make should be viewed as a learning opportunity.
Cognitive behavioural therapy is the most popular treatment for public speaking phobia (CBT). Exposure therapy, or guided exposure to the fear, is included in this. In other terms, it refers to boosting your exposure by first giving a presentation or speech in front of your friends, then a larger group, and finally an audience. Over the years, this kind of therapy has shown to be quite successful. Fearful speakers can learn to identify and manage their own anxious reactions with practice. If you wish to use CBT, you can think about taking a public speaking course, working with a qualified psychologist, or hiring a presentation coach.
Other Skills to Help You Get Better At Public Speaking
The abilities listed above are not the sole skills that are necessary for public speaking. The following abilities and techniques can help you become a more successful public speaker:
- Getting the audience’s attention with a strong opening. This article talks about some incredible opening lines and also helps in understanding how to create your own lines.
- Memorizing enough information so that the talk does not sound like a recitation of notes.
- Modifying voice tone to accentuate key ideas and minimise boring delivery. A tip that helps in maintaining tone and other aspects of your voice is diaphragmatic breathing. You can reach your strongest, most powerful voice via diaphragmatic breathing. The method is used by professional singers to maintain their vocal range and enable them to sustain sounds long after most individuals would get breathless.
- Talk slowly. If you speak too quickly, you’ll sound tense and difficult to understand. If you speak too slowly, you run the danger of losing your listener. Deliver a minute of your presentation to gauge your speaking pace. Then, total the words you said throughout that interval. A presentation should be given at a speech tempo of about 140 a minute, which is a little slower than typical conversational speaking.
- Avoid filling up the gaps. Great public presenters frequently pause between ideas for two to three seconds (and even longer). A well-timed pause may help you appear assured and in charge while giving the listeners time to process what you’ve said. Pauses can assist communicate intensity, emotion, or even the significance of a recent point.
- Rehearsing the speech and ironing out any kinks.
- Reiterating essential ideas at the conclusion of a presentation to reinforce crucial topics.
- Reviewing comments and revising the strategy for future presentations.
Benefits of Public Speaking
Given your fear of public speaking, you might be wondering why you should even try. However, public speaking has some very significant benefits that may benefit you in your career and personal life. Contrary to popular belief, public speaking has more advantages than you may imagine. Speaking in front of an audience may help you become more marketable, meet new people, and gain greater confidence. Each of these advantages has the potential to significantly improve your life.
Although you might feel anxious before making your first presentation, you’ll feel accomplished after it’s over. If the presentation goes well, you could even get good comments from your audience and peers, which would boost your confidence even further. Your communication abilities will advance if you continue to deliver presentations and practise public speaking. You’ll start to feel more at ease and assured in your capability to communicate properly as your abilities advance.
Effective public speaking talents may aid in career growth since they demonstrate traits like professionalism, leadership potential, and other traits that are highly sought after in the job market. Speaking at meetings and conferences is an effective technique for developing a reputation. After you give a few speeches, people will recognize you and start to view you as an expert in your field. You’ll discover that people who heard you speak will bring you new customers and revenue. Speaking events and several new business prospects will become available to you.
Vocabulary and Fluency
Speaking in front of an audience might improve your vocabulary development. It even improves verbal fluency. The impact of your words will be apparent to you on your own, and you will be able to identify your mistakes. You may better grasp the value of speaking to various audiences by engaging in public speaking. You’ll notice that “uh” and “aa” as well as other fillers are frequently substituted with words when you give public speeches since doing so broadens your vocabulary
You won’t be frightened to face the crowd when asked to speak briefly at a short notice during a significant event. Instead, you’ll discover that you are gladly accepting the chance for an unexpected speech. You won’t have to worry about getting invited to speak at formal gatherings anymore because of this major advantage of public speaking.
How Long Does It Take to Learn to Speak in Public?
There is evidence that 10,000 hours of practice is required to perfect public speaking or any ability. That many hours of hard effort is how geniuses are created. But just becoming better at what you’re doing, even going from being a bad public speaker to a good one, will take you 14-16 hours. To learn more about how long it takes to master public speaking, here is an article that focuses solely on that.
Once you’ve got everything together, practise giving your presentation in front of the mirror while utilising all of the advice provided. Doing a test run in front of a few people who may provide interruptions, pose questions, and offer comments is preferable. Consider filming your presentation so you can edit out any kinks and see it from the audience’s point of view.
Watch videos of speakers you respect if you believe your presentation lacks stage presence. Try emulating the elements of their technique that might be useful to you. But, more than imitating another person’s manner or following so-called “rules” for presenting, practise confidence until you truly feel confident.