Imagine you spent the last six weeks researching, writing and preparing the slides for your next presentation. You even spent the last 24 hours rehearsing. You are confident and pleased with yourself. Yet as the moments draw near, the hours turn into minutes, your racing heart refuses to slow down.
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You were so impressed by the speaker before you that all remaining confidence you had about your preparation evaporated. You walk up to the front wishing this cup would pass you by. You place your notes on the table and look at your audience to begin speaking. Your mind goes blank, your hands are shaking and your mouth feels dry.
You try to speak but no words come out. You eventually fumble through your presentation. The audience applauds and you walk back to your seat telling yourself you will never again stand up before a group to speak.
That was me before I committed to developing my speaking skills.
Being Nervous Before A Presentation Is Normal
Many people are uncomfortable speaking in front of others. Be it a small group of three colleagues at work to a larger group of thirty or more at a wedding reception. The more formal the presentation, the more uncomfortable you are.
Nervousness before a presentation is normal. The difference between you and the other speakers whom you admire is that they have not let their nervousness hold them back.
The Only Way Is To Speak
The only way to overcome your fear of public speaking is to speak. There are no shortcuts. Speaking is one of those things you learn by doing. Just like you learn to drive, play golf or play the piano, you can learn how to speak. You learn to speak effectively and then you put what you learn into practice by speaking.
So how will improving your public speaking skills help you?
Benefits Of Good Speaking Skills.
- Your success in your career, in business and in public office often depends on how well you express your thoughts and ideas. Politicians have won and lost elections based on their performance in televised public debates.
- Good speaking skills will improve your chances at job interviews. Many job interviews now include presentations.
- You get better at motivating and inspiring people.
- You become better at conducting and participating at meetings.
- You get better at selling your ideas, products and winning people over to your point of view.
- Your ability to express yourself confidently in-front of others increases your self-confidence.
So How Do You Overcome Your Fear Of Public Speaking.
You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ ~ Eleanor Roosevelt
The anxiety you feel before you step up to the front and speak may never go away. You are going to have to learn to feel the fear and do it. So here are a few questions to ask yourself before getting up to speak.
- Have you got a message that someone needs to hear? Speaking is only a means of communicating your message. If you have something to say, if you have thoughts and ideas to express or if you have words that will inspire encourage and motivate others, then you owe it to yourself to get up and speak.
- Does anyone want to hear what you have to say? You will have to come up with an answer because if there is someone that needs to hear, then that person is waiting for you to speak up.
- Everyone started somewhere. What is worth doing well is going to be done badly at first. Do you think getting up to speak in front of an audience will have a positive impact on your life and career?
If you have answered yes to any of these questions, then its time to get the attention off yourself and commit to developing yourself as a speaker and presenter. Find a toastmasters club or any other speaking club near you and learn to speak in a supportive and encouraging environment.
Why not tell us how you got over your public speaking fears.