Do you have an intense fear of public speaking? Do you avoid public speaking at all costs? If so, take on the challenge of overcoming your fear of public speaking. Here is how you can do it:
Use humor. One of the best ways to break the ice with your audience is to use humor. You can do this by opening with a joke or a funny remark. (Just make sure that the laughter does not come from the expense of another human being because this can hurt, rather than help.) Too, learn to laugh at yourself. Have fun with the public-speaking process by using humor to get you through it. Eventually, you will realize that public-speaking can be fun. Once you realize this, you will be on the road to becoming a good public speaker.
Being able to laugh at yourself is an acquired skill and many actors rely on this skill of not taking themselves too seriously. Otherwise, how would they be able to step outside themselves to become someone else on screen? Realize that you are simply delivering a performance for your audience and let yourself be who you want to be while you are up there speaking to a crowd. Public speaking is about being the best self you can be, even if it is not your normal self. Take on a confident persona during a public-speaking engagement.
Wear colorful clothing. Color counts because color changes moods, so set the tone by wearing colors appropriate to the occasion. A festive event requires festive colors. Your audience will appreciate this because visual appeal helps make the verbal message more appealing. Make sure that you are comfortable in your clothing, though. Don’t wear clothing that binds because you will not look natural or speak naturally. Wearing appropriate clothing can help lessen your fear of public speaking because you will get a positive reaction from your audience.
Make eye contact. Your audience will favor you for making eye contact with them because making eye contact personalizes the message. It makes each audience member feel as if you are speaking directly to him/her. Too, it will bring about greater commitment to your message if you personalize it. If you watch closely, you will discover your audience’s commitment to your message by their heads nodding. When a speaker sees the audience’s heads nodding in a positive direction, this can automatically help lessen the speaker’s fear of public speaking.
Control your hands. Don’t close yourself off from your audience by clasping your hands together. Refrain from wringing your hands or flailing them about while speaking. Wringing your hands and flailing your arms suggests nervousness and can cause your audience to be nervous. If you stir your audience to a state of nervousness, this will cause your fear of public speaking to heighten during the time your audience is nervous or out of control. The key to reducing your own nervousness is to control your audience’s nervousness.
Unite with audience. Rather than issuing a division between you (the speaker) and your audience, why not unite (as one) with your audience. You can easily do this by using the pronoun we, instead of using I and you. If you think this sounds funny, just remember that your audience will more likely listen to you if they feel you are part of the process. So, make yourself feel more secure in a public-speaking event by instilling security in your own audience. Use we, rather than I and you.
Don’t take it personally. Realize that once you give your public-speaking presentation, it’s over. Unless you are a politician, you will not likely be recorded or have any other permanent record of your performance, so once your its over, its over. Just remember what you did well so that you can do it again and refrain from doing again what you failed to do well. In short, make each public-speaking engagement a trial-and-error process. Each public-speaking opportunity is a chance to do something different, a chance to do something better.