Even if you think you will never be giving speeches in your life, public speaking skills are important for our everyday communication as well. By improving your speaking skills, you learn how to express yourself efficiently and deliver the proper message to the other party. These skills will come in handy when you are doing a job interview, negotiating on your salary raise, or purchasing a house.
How to Overcome Your Fear of Public Speaking?
The first step to conquer your fear is to acknowledge and accept it. It is a signal that your nervous system is functioning perfectly, anxiousness being a normal reaction before an important event. It is analogous to skydiving: one feels nervous before jumping but does it despite this physiological reaction.
The next step is to deal with your fear manifestations. You may experience fever, trembling limbs and voice, hesitation in speech. Here, the choice of techniques depends on the experienced symptoms:
- Reaction “fight” – your movements are quick, you feel hyped, you mumble and swallow words.
It is an adrenaline burst. If you have a moment before your speech, try doing something physical to release it. You can do some squats (pay attention and don’t overdo, you don’t want to be sweaty on stage) or simply stretch your muscles and joints. To make your speech clearer, practice some tongue twister. But instead of saying them as fast as possible, articulate and pronounce them markedly slowly.
- Reaction “freeze” – your limbs are cold, your thoughts are inhibited.
You will need to tone your body, “unfreeze” it. Don’t hope that coffee will help you in this case. On the contrary, an additional beverage containing caffeine will make you even more nervous. Instead, take a walk and try to move (squats are good for this instance too). You can warm your hands under hot water, pinch your skin if it goes white.
- Reaction “flight” – you close up, fold your arms, and try to avoid your feelings by checking your smartphone.
This reaction might make you become estranged figuratively and also literally. You can instinctively move away from the audience, hide your face behind the microphone or paper with notes, and hide your gaze. This is because you feel that the situation you are in is dangerous. In order to trick your brain, you can recall or imagine the situation where you felt the opposite. For example, you can remember how you felt being with your close friends and giggling at a joke, how you felt winning an award or getting an A for your essay. The best thing about our brain is that it reacts equally to real and imaginative events. In this way, you will become more relaxed and feel less restraint.
Now that you know what to do during your performance, it is essential to take the following steps to prepare for your speech in advance.
Define a Goal of Your Message
A speech is successful when it manages to reach its goal. From that follows that it would be impossible to be good at communicating your message if you are not sure what your message is. In order to define the goal of your speech, you should try the technique called “Elevator pitch.” Imagine you met your dialog partner or your target listener in an elevator. You have to explain your idea until it arrives on the needed floor. Set your timer for 30 seconds and train. Naturally, your third or fourth attempts will lead to success.
If you prefer to do it in writing, 150 words will be sufficient. In case summarizing is not your forte, you could seek the help of professionals from DoMyEssay. By using this technique, you will not go into unnecessary detail while speaking.
Make Your Message Understandable
In the era of short, entertaining videos on YouTube, many people suppose that making their presentation or speech funny and engaging is vital. However, if your goal is to inform, share, or convince rather than entertain, your primary focus should be on the clarity of a message.
If you have not prepared your main points, your speech will contain too many redundant details that will make it incomprehensible. What is more, you will sound less confident, which will make your dialog partner feel that your idea is not that valuable. Right, if you sound like you don’t believe in your arguments, why would your boss do?
Once you identified the goal of your message, think of its structure. Here’s an outline for your speech:
Part 1. Why?
Put your listener into the context. For example, if you are having a job interview and the interviewer asks why their company should hire you, explain your background that will be the basis for your future endeavors. If you are asking for a raise, remind what you have been working on lately.
Part 2. What?
After you made a short introduction, it’s high time you introduced your idea. Here feel free to mention all of the benefits your counterparty will have out of this idea. You have to prepare a range of arguments that prove that you are right and make your message convincing.
Part 3. How?
Finally, explain the roadmap of the implementation of your idea. If you pitch your project, work through all of its stages.
All in all, the ability to communicate clearly and explain the value of your ideas can win you plenty of interesting opportunities on your way. It is completely normal to be stressed because of your first public speaking events. However, with time, you will get into the habit of speaking in front of people, and you will become much more confident. Good luck!