Tips for Overcoming Your Fear of Public Speaking

Some people are naturally comfortable speaking in public. They can command an audience while spewing facts and jokes in a collected and confident manner. However, there are also those that start to sweat at the idea of public speaking. If this is the case, your glossophobia — or the fear of public speaking — could be holding you back from living life to the fullest and advancing your career. Cognitive behavioral therapy can help you deal with your inner worries and insecurities. Your doctor may put you on an anti-anxiety medication.

It is common to be anxious before giving a presentation or speech, but if your anxiety reaches crippling levels, you should consider facing your fears and trying to overcome them. Here are four tips for speaking in public:

Prepare
If you are giving a guest lecture at a university on the topic of your masters��� thesis, you probably know your stuff inside out. You will be able to recover from mistakes quickly and have a better understanding of the audience questions. If you are giving a presentation about something you are not as familiar with, you need to make sure you have sufficiently researched and prepared.

If you are going to worry, make sure it is over the material rather than the audience. Remember that you are there to provide information rather than please everyone. Know who will make up your audience and take that into account when you write your speech. Make sure you are engaging and look at your audience. Nothing says you are nervous or ill-prepared quite like reading straight from your paper or addressing the floor.

Organize
Go into the speech or presentation prepared for anything. Email notes to yourself just in case the thumb drive doesn���t work. Practice with props or visuals aids. Keep a flash card or outline in front of you. Don���t try to memorize your whole speech, but rather remember the key points you need to make.

Make sure you are wearing something flattering and professional. Perhaps pick out your public speaking outfit the night before. Don���t wear clothes that make you feel self-conscious. If you are worried about unsightly sweat, take preventative measures. You don’t want to be worrying about a wardrobe malfunction.

Practice
Try out your material for people you feel comfortable around. Your practice audience can offer you suggestions and perhaps boost your confidence by telling you that you did a great job. However, some people find that too much practice actually makes their presentations worse. Practice is not exactly the same as preparation, so don���t over practice to make up for the fact that you don���t know your material as well as you should.

Breathe
Take deep breaths to calm down before you start. Don���t be afraid to pause to collect your thoughts and then continue. That moment of silence may feel like forever, but it can help you get back on track. Don’t psych yourself out. Remember that you don���t have to give a flawless presentation for your project idea to be selected. You can stumble a few places and skip a whole paragraph and still give a successful speech.