Motivation and Public Speaking: Overcoming Stage Fright


  Motivation and Public Speaking: Overcoming Stage Fright

Public speaking can be thought of as a form of communication, and like all forms of communication to an audience, there is potential for positive or negative outcomes. The goal in any public speaking engagement is not to have a negative outcome. This could be achieved through the use of speaker’s notes, preparation and practice prior to the speech, presentation rehearsals with a colleague, etc. The following list provides some tips on how one could overcome those fears associated with public speaking and achieve success:

- Make eye contact during the talk; keep it brief but meaningful. It will reassure the audience that you are in tune with their interest.
- Keep in mind that the audience is there to listen to you, so avoid things like putting your notes on a tablet or computer, tapping your feet or chewing gum.
- Practice, practice, practice. It’s a cliché but gives you the best chance of success.
- When thinking about what to wear for the speech; consider what clothing will make you feel comfortable and confident. If it is hard for you to speak in public; then don’t wear anything that will add even more tension such as a tie or high heels.

- Prepare yourself mentally; know how you will begin and end your talk. If you feel comfortable doing so, ask a colleague to speak to you in the same room where you will be delivering your talk. The more prepared you are, the less likely that your nerves will take over and prevent you from being at your best.
- Don’t forget to smile. The audience will appreciate it and it helps relieve tension for the speaker as well.
- Be yourself; people can tell when someone is trying to be someone they are not. Relax and enjoy yourself, and they will too!

 - Avoid talking about how nervous you are or why this speech is so important to you. It will come across as fake and only increase the audience’s tension.
- Don’t be afraid to use props or visuals; this adds information to your talk and is a great way of keeping your audience engaged.
- Different body language techniques are available, such as; the Leg Lean, which is a very subtle way of telling your listeners that you are relaxed. You can also put both of your hands together as if in prayer (not in an aggressive or defensive way) and place them onto the podium. This helps you appear calm and at ease with yourself. It also allows you to convey sincerity by dropping any pretence that you are unable to perform this task confidently (this demonstrates goodwill and confidence).

- Don't forget to smile. It makes a speech more lively and enjoyable. It also makes the speaker seem more confident and approachable.

- You should practice your material over and over again until you are confident in its delivery.
- Maintain self confidence throughout the whole process of preparing for the talk, at all times. This will raise the speakers self esteem to improve their performance during the presentation .
- As with any public speaking engagement, practice when you can and save some for when you really need it.
- Ask a friend or colleague to speak about their experience to you beforehand, as this will allow you to see how you may have been affected by your nerves.
- Try and speak out from the heart. If you are telling a story at the same time, try and keep your story in mind; that way your audience does not have to listen to every word. However, do not go through the story just for the sake of it; let it flow naturally from you as though it is something that is happening in front of them right now.
- Relax your facial expressions and body language throughout the talk. Smile and use gestures that complement what you are saying. Avoid nervous habits like biting your nails or tapping your feet.

- Try and speak to multiple people before giving a speech. It will allow you to feel the anxiety before giving the actual speech, and give you an opportunity to be able to practice what you want to say over and over again.
- Anchor yourself with something in the room that pleases you, such as a particular picture or a plant.
- If possible, stand behind a podium so that it will help anchor your body in place as well as give you points of reference for your speech.
- Replace perceived fear with an image of something else. Some speakers think about playing football or other sports instead of fear when they have trouble giving their talks .
- If you are talking about an issue that is quite emotional for you, find another way to relate to it that makes your audience feel involved in the story. This allows them to be more interested and less nervous.

- If the event you are doing has a theme, think about how it would fit in with that. You may find using symbols associated with the theme help stimulate your imagination and help you come up with better ideas for what to say.
- Think about what you need to say and how best to say it . Remember this speech is not only about yourself but also should be about the audience as well; so make sure your speech will involve them as well.

- Know your audience. You should know what the audience is interested in. If they are not interested in anything you are saying, then perhaps it's better not to say it at all!
- If you don't have a specific topic for your talk, try and think of one and write it down to refer to later so that you can add some more details.

- If you expect to do well in front of an audience, start practicing now , before the event takes place.


Some of the most successful public speakers in history have all had one thing in common; they spoke from the heart. They did not give their speeches because of some great need to impress their listeners; they gave their speeches because they were deeply passionate about what they had to say. When you speak about a topic that you are passionate about, your audience will be able to see it and ultimately it is these gestures that will help them connect with you and let them know that you care about talking to them.

If you want to improve your confidence and skills in public speaking, then follow this advice for success .

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