Everyone has fears. These fears can be anything from heights, insects, or even going to the doctor. However, the number one fear that the majority of people have in common is public speaking. If you’re anything like me, I’d rather go skydiving than talk in front of a large group of people.
In fact, a recent survey found that 75% of people suffer from speech anxiety. Glossophobia, also known as the fear of public speaking, can be tackled by many years of practice and some helpful tips along the way. Instead of sweating over public speaking jitters, check out my list of go-to hacks:
Be an Expert
One of the best ways to feel comfortable when having to get up and speak in front of a crowd of people is to become an expert on the subject. Would you rather give a speech on chicken nuggets or DNA replication? Easy choice.
If you can have a conversation about your topic, then it should keep your anxiety low. In my experience, I compile as much research as I can find and start digesting it. This helps me feel confident that what I’m saying is correct, no matter how nervous I can get.
As cheesy as it may seem, my favorite way to gain confidence is positive self-talk. Something as simple as standing in front of a mirror and giving myself an uplifting pep talk calms my nerves. On the day of the speech, I always make sure to fill my head with positive thoughts and avoid any sort of negativity.
Barbara Fredrickson, a positive psychology researcher at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, published a study that found positive emotions broaden one’s sense of possibilities and open the mind, which in turn allows for the development of new skills and resources that can provide value in other areas of one’s life.
Instead of thinking of all the things that could go wrong, think of all the things that can go right. It might just change your public speaking skills for the better.
Ditch the Caffeine
It’s important to be alert during a presentation or a speech, however, caffeine may not be the solution. Naturally, nerves are at an all-time high before speaking in front of large groups.
Adding in a cup of coffee may lead to a potential disaster. HealthLine found that caffeine can cause the jitters which leads to anxiety. The last thing anyone needs is more anxiety before a speech.
The best way to feel mentally prepared is getting a healthy amount of sleep. So next time, take a pass on your morning coffee.
The best portrayal of yourself is your authentic self. This goes hand-in-hand with public speaking. No one wants to listen to a monotone speech that sounds like a textbook.
To make an impact, simply speak in your own voice. For example, a story about what innovation means to you is more interesting than the dictionary definition. This will help you to keep your audience engaged and leave them feeling like they have learned something.
The perfect hacks to public speaking don’t necessarily exist. Finding what works for you best to perform at your top potential is the key to conquering those jitters.
Don’t be afraid to try new things and most importantly, always be confident! The only thing that’s standing in front of your perfect speech is yourself.