Tips to Beat Your Fear of Public Speaking

Sidnee Arney, Staff Writer

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Have you ever heard the saying “Picture the audience in their underwear” by a close friend or family member as a prelude to a speech that would help calm your nerves? I think we’ve all determined that this advice only seems to make things more awkward and makes you more nervous about giving your speech.

The truth is, public speaking can be scary, and it’s people’s biggest fear. Warren Buffet, the richest man in the world, was afraid to just stand up in class and say his name. He enrolled in a public speaking class with others who shared the same anxieties as him and soon saw a drastic difference in himself and his public speaking. We can’t all take public speaking classes, but there are a few tips that can help you become a better public speaker.

  1. Take it Slow

Don’t speak too fast and don’t try to rush yourself into speaking to a big audience right off the bat. Good public speaking will take time, and it’s best if you don’t try to rush it. Start by giving your speech to family members or close friends, then slowly work your way up to larger crowds. Also, keep in mind that as your recite your speech many times over, it will help your nerves when you finally give it to the intended audience.

  1. Don’t speak too fast

This goes along with the first tip. Don’t speak too fast! A way you can regulate your speech is to practice breathing patterns. You may be thinking “Breathing Patterns? Why on earth would I practice breathing patterns?” Well, the answer is, if you regulate your breathing patterns then you can subconsciously control how fast you’re speaking. A tip: breathe before you give your first words. You’d be amazed at how much of a difference it’ll make. Also, during your speech, take pauses before points. This will not only give you time to gather your thoughts, but will also allow for the audience to soak in all the information that you have just told them.

  1. Don’t over think

DO NOT overthink during a speech. Overthinking, or thinking of all the bad things that could possibly happen during the speech will not only trip you up, but will also distract you from your main goal: giving an intelligent, well thought out speech. You must learn to trust yourself and trust your knowledge on the subject you’re speaking about.

  1. Watch Yourself in the Mirror

My parents tell me this as I prepare to give a speech. It helps seeing what you look like when you give your speech. Practice good facial expression and body movements. Have you ever watched political debates on TV? Do you see the way the politicians use their hands and the demeanor on their faces? There’s a saying that “Great leaders use their hands while speaking.” However, refrain from pointing, conducting like you’re the band instructor, and fidgeting with something in front of you.

  1. Don’t expect perfection

No one and no speech is perfect. Don’t expect not to make mistakes, but instead. Take those little mistakes and ask yourself “What could’ve been improved?” or “How do you think you did?” You might never get a “perfect” speech, but these tips could help improve your public speaking. In the end, focus on the things you did wrong, but also congratulate yourself on the positives.

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Tips to Beat Your Fear of Public Speaking