How to Overcome Your Fear of Public Speaking | Private Therapy Clinic
Saturday, 11 Jan 2020

How to Overcome Your Fear of Public Speaking

By Dr Becky Spelman
How to Overcome Your Fear of Public Speaking | Private Therapy Clinic

The fear of public speaking is one of the oldest hang-ups there is in society. Many of us can recite anecdote after anecdote to our friends. But if we’re asked to tell those same stories in front of all our friends combined, most of us would be less than enthused by the idea. What is it that makes us so reticent to taking centre stage? Why is it that confidence doesn’t transition seamlessly from one-on-one situations to a group dynamic? The fear of public speaking is an irrational phobia. But overcoming it still proves to be stretch too far for many to bridge. Here are some of the best ways you can improve your technique.

Don’t Overawe Yourself

You don’t need to speak in front of hundreds of people all at once. It would be asking way too much of yourself. Not only that, it’d prevent you from even trying. The best way to build your confidence is to start small. Try going to open mic night that allows poems and short stories.

Prepare, Prepare, Prepare

When you have an official engagement, you don’t want to leave anything to chance. When asked why they’re able to give such natural and confident addresses, good speakers always say the same thing. It’s preparation. Successful speakers aren’t special. They’ve just been willing to put in the work that others haven’t.

Reduce Stress Beforehand

Eliminating stress is much easier said than done. But it will pay huge dividends if you’re able to hit on a pre-speech routine that puts you more at ease. Rituals have been a big part of professional sport for a long time. And incorporating some stress relief in the form of self-care before your big event is must to avoid stumbling over your carefully crafted speech.

Speak to One Person in the Audience

The primary fear from public speaking comes for the scale you’re operating on. But it’s really all a question about perspective. There could be a hundred or a thousand people present. But you don’t need to acknowledge that fact. Zero in on one person in the audience and speak only to them.

Don’t Be too Rigid with Your Delivery

As much as it’s important to know your material, you don’t want to be held captive by it. You’re not playing an orchestral score that needs to be flawless in execution. You’re giving a speech. Notes are great. But you’re never going to recite everything word for word. It needs to be natural. The more you try and stick to a set script, the more you’re trip over your words.

Watch Yourself in the Mirror

This requires a bit of energy. But it will allow you to see how you’re conveying your message. You’ll be able to pick up on body language that might not sit with the overall tone of your speech and alter it to give a more authentic and engaging interpretation of your core points. 

Record Yourself Speaking

One of the things that catches people off guard is hearing they voice through a loud PA system. Most people don’t know what they sound like. And when they hear their voice, they don’t like what they hear, and they wilt before they’ve even begun. Recording some or all of your speech is a great way to get over the fear of hearing yourself and also to tweak your deliver style in certain passages for a more dynamic talk.

About the author:

Dr Becky Spelman is a leading UK Psychologist who’s had great success helping her clients manage and overcome a multitude of mental illnesses.

***If you’re struggling with your public speaking and think you might benefit from speaking to someone about your situation, we offer a FREE 15-MINUTE CONSULTATION with one of our specialists to help you find the best way to move forward. You can book yours here.

References

Psychology Today. (27th Nov 2017) Why are We So Scared of Public Speaking. Retrieved on 11th December, 2019 from, https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/blog/smashing-the-brainblocks/201711/why-are-we-scared-public-speaking

Mayo Clinic. (17th May 2017) Fear of Public Speaking: How Can I Overcome it? Retrieved on 11th December, 2019 from, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/specific-phobias/expert-answers/fear-of-public-speaking/faq-20058416

Psycom. (2018) Glossophobia (Fear of Public Speaking): Are You Glossophobic? Retrieved on 11th December, 2019 from, https://www.psycom.net/glossophobia-fear-of-public-speaking

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