Top ways to become an effective Public Speaker
Overcome Stage Fear
So you have been talking throughout your life. You have been talking with your family, friends, neighbours, classmates and relatives, including strangers. You are smart, savvy intelligent, educated and communicative. You can make friends and people love your company. As an overall package, there is everything good in you. The only challenge that you face is when you are put on stage, in front of many people and asked to speak. You love making friends but find it hard to face them with other strangers and address them in a public forum. You can talk to people but find it fearful to speak in front of an audience. You can talk to strangers but cannot address them in public. You can talk to your colleagues in a group but your heartbeat shoots up high when asked to address the same topic in front of your colleagues on a stage. So here, we find that there is a common theme that suggests that although we find okay to talk to people in general fearful to speak to in public or on stage. And this is something that has been happening to us since childhood. Remember the number of times in school when you knew the answer but still found it hard to raise your hand and say in front of the class. Times, when you have scored well in academics but the thought of giving a speech in front of the class or school, made you dead nervous. I’m sure it happens with all of us, all the time. We do suffer from gloss phobia, which in simpler terms means stage fright. Now let’s find out how can we overcome this generic syndrome of gloss phobia:
Once you accept the situation as it is, the next best thing is to rehearse, rehearse and rehearse your subject. There is no substitute for preparation. This is the secret and the best tip for making an emphatic and a remarkable presentation. The more you prepare and rehearse your subject, the more confident you would feel about facing the public and expressing your thoughts and ideas, which are completely original and well prepared. When you rehearse you get time to think and formulate your ideas and prepare yourself for those ideas to be presented in the most suitable and impressive manner. When someone says that Practice makes a man perfect, it has rightly proved over a period of time. And imagine what’s the best way to rehearse, that’s your mirror. So mirror is not just meant to see yourself and keep appreciating your beauty, but also to see yourself and mark your areas of improvement. While preparing for a great speech or a presentation, see yourself in the mirror and observe how well you look when you speak and present yourself. How’s your body language, How are your facial expressions and hand movements, they all make a lot of difference to your presentation? Secondly, the practice of recording your voice and then listening back to check the voice modulation, intonation, the pitch, clarity of thought and expression of emotions, they too play an extremely important role while helping you to prepare yourself to face the audience. These are few of the proven tools to help you remove stage fear.
Find your smiling, interested audience face:
So when asked that what causes the stage fear, the most common answer found is that people would laugh at me. Herein I believe that instead of getting bothered by laughing faces, try to find that one or two, smiling, nodding, interested face in the audience who are not just listening to you but also giving you the approving gestures that help you to build your confidence and continue speaking. You don’t have to think and worry about those jerks who neither have the courage to speak nor the sense to encourage others to speak. They, in any case, are not people that you should focus on. Rather you need to believe that you have something better and exceptional than them and that’s why you are standing where they are not. Coming to the point, find that one or few faces, who are looking at you with encouraging, positive gestures and who are eager to hear what you have to say. However, having said that, it is also pertinent that you don’t have to ignore your participants or audience. Each one of them is there for a purpose and is important for you. So look at your audience with respect and warmth, but you can keep your focus on those who are keener to listen and take some takeaways from your presentation. This will help you to soothe your tensed nerves and focus on your content rather than get bothered by your audience.
Ask yourself some positive questions:
It has been researched that the fear of speaking in public is higher than the fear of death. Many people who otherwise may be very talented, communicative and talkative, may find it really hard to speak in front of an audience. The prior most reason for this fear is the negative thoughts that we make to ourselves. We keep asking ourselves before an important presentation, speech or a program that what if I forget some lines? What if people don’t like my content? What if people make fun of me? What if my speech is worst compared to others.. so on and so forth. We almost prepare ourselves that we do not have what it takes to become a great speaker. And because we condition our mind so deeply about this, it actually starts working that way. The law of nature says that whatever you put your thoughts most on, you attract the same results. So instead of thinking about all negatives and possible flaws, what if you before any presentation, speech or your public appearance you start asking yourself some positive questions as How would it make me feel when people applaud me for my presentation at the end of the event? When people give me a standing ovation, how would I react to it? How can I impact the lives of people, whom I’m going to address? What takeaways would I like my audience to take away at the end of my presentation? What and how more can I help my people and in what ways. These and many such positive thoughts help us to proceed in a direction of progress and positive thinking. It immediately takes away the fear and helps us to focus on something bigger and broader. Herein we are conditioning our mind in a positive way.
That’s the mantra of being a great speaker. Speakers are not born but made over a period of time. Anyone can become a Speaker, provided you have the passion and aura of being a speaker.
Honey Gudh (PCC Coach-Mentor-Trainer)