Why You're Scared of Public Speaking & How to Overcome It

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Regardless of your profession, your success is determined a great deal by your ability to communicate effectively. Whether you’re running a meeting, selling a product, motivating coworkers or just communicating one-on-one with others, you’ll get far better results if you can present your thoughts persuasively, smoothly and logically.

Anxiety over a simple presentation can be debilitating. Researches have famously shown that fear of public speaking ranks higher even than the fear of death. Fear of public speaking may even lead people to choose a career that doesn't involve public speaking, rather than the job they really want. So here are the main reasons behind stage phobia in addition to a few practical tips to help you conquer your stage anxiety from Akhtaboot:

Why Public Speaking Scares You

There's something about standing up there, with all eyes on you that makes you break into a sweat. Psychologists suggest that public speaking phobia is often associated with the fear of rejection at a primal level.

The fear of being rejected is so strong because we are not only afraid of being ashamed, or judged;  we are afraid of being excluded from the social group, abandoned and left to protect ourselves all on our own. 

Is Public Speaking for Everyone?

In today’s business world, fear of public speaking can be portrayed as a personality flaw that we all must overcome, otherwise, your career will be affected. But what if you would just prefer to avoid public speaking altogether?

It’s ok, public speaking isn’t for everyone; try to plan your career path in a direction that doesn’t involve giving speeches. If this means accepting a lower pay position or turning down a promotion, so be it. To some, there are more important things in life than advancing at the office.

What Triggers your Public Speaking Fear?

The first step in getting over your fear is to figure out what triggers your stress levels when hitting the stage. Is it the fear of what the audience will think about you? Are you afraid of them judging you? Do you fear messing up on stage? Once you figure that out, you need to find a motivator that makes you feel uplifted and excited. Exercising could work, practicing with a friend, practicing on your own or even checking out the room in advance.

Practice & Then Practice Some More

Make sure that you know your content inside out so that you are comfortable giving your presentation with no visuals at all. Prepare a draft with all the key points you want to get across and keep it with you as a guide. Mastering your content affords you the luxury of calmness and clarity during presentations.

Engage the Audience

Having a one-way presentation is one of the worst ways to transfer information to an audience. It also puts the entire task of informing and entertaining the audience on you. Think of it as a conversation and not a presentation.

Try to make your talk a two-way interaction with questions and participation. Having the audience involved reduces boredom and also gives you time to reorganize your thoughts if things are going off track. Always remember, public speaking success isn’t all about grabbing attention, it’s about actively nurturing the attention that you have and transforming it into real engagement.

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