12 Practical tips to manage your fear of public speaking
There is so much information and misinformation out there that promises to help you get over your fear of public speaking. But what your colleague might find life-changing leaves you severely underwhelmed. Whilst public speaking is a commonly held fear, we are each afraid for different reasons so the techniques to manage fear should be tailored to your style. Begin with finding your style, then try out some of these techniques to gain confidence.
Style: Logical & Analytical – Interested in facts, outcomes, and the bottom line.
- Establish a clear purpose – Make sure you start your preparation with the end in mind.
- Play devil’s advocate – Consider all the things that could go wrong. Once you have identified the potential risks you will know to avoid them.
- Create a model on a page – To keep yourself on track sketch out the superstructure of your presentation – a plan on a page.
Tip: Remember other people might need more time to process information to arrive at their own conclusions.
Style: Organised & Process Oriented – Interested in detail, thoroughness and procedure
- Leave enough time to prepare – manage nerves by fulfilling your own need to feel ready.
- Pace out your talk –break your presentation down into 1-2 minute blocks in the order that suits your purpose.
- Remove surprises –make sure all your tech is working, if possible run through your talk in the space before the audience arrives.
Tip – Make get out of your head & stop sweating the small stuff
Style: Empathetic People Person – Interested in emotional connections & gut-feel decisions
- Imagine speaking to your best friend – get around worries of being judged by talking to somebody you know likes you already and has your best interests at heart.
- Tell your story – share why the topic matters to your personally so you don’t lose site of your intent.
- Practice democratic eye contact –draw everyone in the room into your orbit, connecting with as many people as you can.
Tip: make sure your emotions don’t get in the way of your message
Style: Big Picture Innovator– Interested in new ideas and taking risks
- Maintain your enthusiasm – stay connected to whatever got you excited about the topic in the first place.
- Anchor your ideas – You may have been told that you sometimes wander off on a tangent, remember to connect your points to your central purpose so your audience is able to follow along.
- Go ahead, break the rules – Sometimes the best presentations are those that do not conform to expectations – challenge convention, but respect others’ perspective.
Tip: Try not to change the whole world in one 20-minute presentation.
No matter your preferences, everyone trying to improve their public speaking will benefit from greater self-awareness and practice. With every successful presentation you will gain a little more confidence. Create your own kit bag of techniques to get a little bit better every time you speak.
Written by Monica Lunin.
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