In our last article on The Ten Commandments of Public Speaking, we were introduced to various ways of delivering a phenomenal speaking experience. In that article, we discovered that a whopping 75% of people would rather die than speak in public. Now, that’s scary. Why the fear of standing before a group of people to speak? The answers might be so diverse that it would be a challenge putting a finger on one or two. In this second part of our series on public speaking, we will take a closer look at how to overcome the fears of public speaking; which is known as glossophobia. Here we go…
- Your audience want to see you succeed
There is no one who would come to listen to you wishing for your failure. Come to think of it, if they knew you would fail at delivering the relevant message, they would rather utilize the time attending to other more pressing issues. The very fact that people leave all that they could be doing to come and sit and listen is enough to make you know that they recognize there’s something positive you’re bringing to the table, that they are ready for.
Never think your audiences wish you failure. On the contrary, they want to see you succeed.
- Manage your stage fright
I have been on radio for close to two years now. I have also spoken to many students’ groups and in my local church. Now, the amazing thing is, despite my doing all these for years now, I still feel that initial fright that goes with my being called to the stage to begin my speech. It is natural with everyone. One of the least people I ever expected to make a similar assertion was the founder of the International Central Gospel Church (ICGC), Dr. Mensa Otabil. Doc, as he is affectionately called, began ministry some thirty years ago. And so you will imagine that he has all the experiences in public speaking.
Yet upon listening to him recently, he asserted that he also feels that natural fright when he goes on stage. It is a natural feeling, and you’re not alone. The most experienced speakers feel it, too. The key is to manage your stage fright. Don’t allow stage fright to cost you what could have otherwise turned out into a phenomenal speaking experience. Be yourself. Take deep breaths regularly, and you’re sure to have the best presentation.
- Practise is key to performance
In our first part of the series, I drummed home the point on practise and I can’t do it anymore. If you fail to practise, you can’t deliver a good speech. On some occasions, I feel too tired to practise my materials before going on air. And guess what? I don’t perform as I expect. And the interesting twist to a lack of practise is that you feel unprepared. That feeling of unpreparedness is the cause of fear. If you really want to succeed in your speaking career, practise should be your watch word.
Make it a goal never to stage a presentation until you’ve practiced well enough.
- Only speak on topics you’re comfortable with
We all have subjects that resonate well with us. A friend of mine is so thrilled on issues regarding technology that he could lecture you all day without getting exhausted. Interestingly, technology isn’t something I am thrilled about. If you asked me to speak at a technology expo on a technologically related topic, I am sorry, I will turn your invite down. If I dare prove to be good at it, I might get the worst speaking experience of my life.
Unfortunately, many up and coming speakers have found themselves in this trap. For a desperation for speaking engagements, they accept every speaking invitation without due diligence of what comes natural to them. Expectedly, they perform abysmally. Don’t go with the grind because everyone is accepting every topic. Be yourself. Get to know what you’re so passionate about; and be a master on that subject.
- Get support
If all the above don’t help, then it is a good time to get support from friends and organisations that are vested in public speaking training. Toastmasters in one of such organisations purposely founded to train people in public speaking. They have chapters in most countries. You can check their venue in your locality and you can take some public speaking training courses to make you the best public speaker ever.
I hope to see you at the very top of your public speaking career.
By: Jonathan Adzokpe