Overcoming the Fear of Public Speaking
If you're feeling anxious about an upcoming public speaking event, you probably know that you're not alone. Public speaking is consistently charted as one of the most feared elements in a person’s life.
But there are plenty of ways to overcome the fear of public speaking, and I've put together a list a few useful techniques.
What I mean is, keep in mind that you're equal to everyone in the audience, even if it's a so-called "power audience." You know the drill: if you're addressing those "above" your station in life, remember that governors and CEOs (for instance) have a hard time raising kids, they curse, they go to the bathroom, they feel insecure about certain things, and so on.
Same if you're addressing people "below" your station in life, or simply in a vastly different station. Figure out what your VALUE is to them and you'll be confident about addressing them.
People love good listeners. In fact, they think that people who listen are wonderful conversationalists! So a great way to socialize at a party is to listen for someone else's interests and to address those.
Likewise, really consider who your speaking audience is and address them in a way they can relate to on a topic they can relate to. The more you reach out to them, the more you have listened, and the more they'll think your words are out of this world.
In your mind, take the audience of whatever size, and turn it into one person. You're having a conversation with that person. Presumably you've had a good deal more conversations in life than you have had public speaking appearances. Turn your speech into a conversation with a good friend and you'll find that it turns the event into something much more familiar.
Practice practice practice practice. Practice practice. Practice again. I know, it's really annoying to have me say it like this, but most people don't take this tip seriously enough. No wonder they're nervous!
Practicing out loud in front of a mirror, video camera, or trustworthy friend can help you to see all the elements that do and do not work about your presentation. The better you can get at each element through practice, the more confident you'll be. You'll also find plenty of ways to improve content through practice, and you should make sure you have a way to jot down any thoughts on the fly so you can tweak things and turn your words to gold.
Incidentally, I rehearse my clients' speeches out loud and tweak as I go before I send them final drafts. That's what it takes me to write the best speech possible, and I believe it's what it takes anyone else as well.