How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking: Easy Tips for Amateur Performers

How many can boast that they behave easily and at ease in front of hundreds of people? How about thousands? There are people who can hardly speak in front of a dozen people. Their palms are sweaty, their eyes are misty, their thoughts are confused, and all they want to do is run away. But there is nothing to do: promotion, personal development, gaining new experience, a lot of reasons push us to perform in public.

Psychologists have developed many techniques and tips to combat discomfort and excitement in front of a large audience. If you dream of getting rid of the fear of public speaking, then sit back and pay attention.

Why We Are Afraid to Speak in Front of a Large Audience

Let’s start with the basic concepts: there is excitement and then there is fear. So if you’re worried, but in a generally normal state of mind you’re able to go out and speak, it’s just excitement. But if your performance is in danger of failure every time because you can barely stand on your feet in a half faint state, or you vomit all the time, then it’s a phobia. And there is a scientific name for this phenomenon – glossophobia.

There can be many reasons for this fear:

  • Childhood mental trauma.
  • Fear of criticism. Many people are afraid that the audience will judge them negatively.
  • Former failure. The memory of a performance that failed in the past can interfere with getting in front of an audience in the present.
  • Fear of not being interesting to the audience.
  • Phobia because you didn’t want to speak and you’re being forced (or you’re forcing yourself).
  • Fear that your excitement will ruin everything.
  • A difficult period in life: problems, depression, etc.

Preparation for the Performance

To begin with, analyze the audience in front of which you plan to speak and answer the question: are these people really at your level of competence and knowledge? If you have been working for half a year as an ordinary manager (even if you’ve made some progress), then most likely you will have nothing to share with the crowd of experienced pro-actors and salespeople. This isn’t a fact, of course, but most of the time, the guys with the “higher experience” will be more skilled in almost any question (even related to your work profile). Choose an easier audience to begin with, to whom your information will really be useful and interesting. And then, with increasing knowledge and experience, move (step by step) to audiences with more savvy listeners.

Careful preparation is crucial. So, you will have to stop playing on a TonyBet login website and having fun with friends for a while, but it’s worth it because youll get closer to your goals. Everything in your speech should be as predictable as possible. And this applies not only to the text itself (of course, the topic is worked out in the most meticulous way), but also possible deviations. If you are not the best improviser, there is only one way out: you need to think through everything to the last detail. The best improvisers in the standup genre are actually those who prepare thoroughly in advance and come up with jokes for all occasions.

Your performance itself should be as structured as possible and have a clear plan: points, sub-paragraphs, supporting words, talking points, timecodes, etc. At one glance at your plan, you should quickly understand where you are and what to say next.

The text of the speech should be fertilized by small digressions, interesting stories, examples, etc., so that the audience has time to rest, and you gather your thoughts.

Presentation slides will help describe your topic more figuratively and divert the audience’s attention and help them quickly figure out what to talk about next in case of a hitch.

Sample your audience (gather the most critical and otherwise loyal people) and read to them what you have prepared. Listen carefully to the feedback and make corrections to the text, if necessary.

“Perform” in front of a mirror . And in a quiet home environment, pay attention to your behavior and how you generally behave: gestures, facial expressions, whether your smile is not contrived, what your facial expression is, whether you slouch, etc. Often, how a person says his speech is more important to the audience than what he says.

If possible, visit the hall where you will speak and rehearse without the audience. This will help you get used to the setting a little and not get as excited when the hall is full.

Try to read your speech to a child you know. Naturally, he won’t understand many things, but your task is to explain all the “adult” nuances in a way that even a schoolboy would understand. This way you will build confidence in your ability to explain complex information in simple words. 

What to Do During the Performance to Overcome Fear

First, prepare for possible criticism and understand that everyone is criticized, but the successful and public ones are the most likely to be criticized. The main thing is to understand and distinguish between destructive and constructive criticism. In the first case, it’s about the objections and clarifications on the subject and not in any case should not react aggressively to it or be offended. Smart people who point out our weaknesses only help us in the end, making us more erudite, wiser, stronger. As for destructive criticism, the right thing to do is not to pay attention to it. That way you cannot be confused, and you will feel confident.

Concentrate on your plan: check what you’ve already said, how long it took, what part of the speech is still ahead, whether you’re invested in timecodes, etc. This will help distract you and get your thoughts together.

Make pauses between sentences or parts of your speech that will allow you to catch your breath. The main thing is not to make them too long. If the length of the pause is chosen correctly, the audience will simply think that you give them time to think about what is being said, as well as to think and write down the questions.

Try to breathe calmly and deeply. This will help you relax and avoid breakdowns in your voice.

What to Do Next?

Continue to work on yourself and your fears:

  • To become calmer when speaking in public, you need to perform more in public, oddly enough. Each time you will feel more and more confident.
  • If you can’t get on stage often, try to take the initiative even in everyday moments: make announcements to colleagues, speak at parent-teacher conferences, say toasts more often at celebrations in the end. Train yourself to speak quietly to an audience, even if only a small one.
  • If there is a problem with self-acceptance, work on your self-esteem. Praise yourself, keep a journal of achievements, encourage yourself for successes, etc.
  • Enroll in an acting or journalism studio. This will help loosen up and feel free in public.
  • Well, and if you decide to approach the issue thoroughly, you can always choose one of the many public speaking courses and fight your fears in the company of experienced mentors.

After all, it’s worth saying that the fear of our own fear is one of the most destructive things for us. Many famous people who almost every day must go out to an audience of thousands of people are also experiencing anxiety. This list includes Barack Obama, who pulls himself up before a performance, Adele, who occasionally pukes backstage, and Rihanna, who admitted that she had to drink alcohol before the concert to relieve her stress.

Photo by Marcos Luiz Photograph on Unsplash

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