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You’ve got the words to change a nation
But you’re biting your tongue…
(Emeli Sande – Read All About It)
Feeling anxious only at the thought of speaking in front of a lot of people? Your mouth dries up and your palms sweat as soon as you try to say something and that makes you even more nervous? Yep, this is public speaking fear, or the so-called Glossophobia. Jerry Seinfeld said – ‘people’s number two fear is death. Number one is public speaking!’. Imagine…
I was going to write about how easy would be for you to overcome the panic with a few simple steps. Well, it is not exactly like that! The tips I am going to give will certainly come in handy, but the first and most essential thing you have to remember is that you need to change your attitude to the process of public speaking. Since I’ve tried a lot of things to ‘decrease’ the anxiety, I finally realized it is a deep rooted psychological problem and what I need to do is just to change my way of thinking about it. Eventually, nobody is going to kill you if something goes wrong, right? Just a couple of minutes and it’s all gone, you’re free!
On the other hand, perhaps it is all about hiding the nervousness. Mark Twain himself thinks that there’re two types of speakers- those that are nervous and those that are liars! As a person that is quite used to stage performances, I still cannot figure out why I keep being so anxious when I have a presentation or even when I have to explain something simple during a seminar. The following list are the things that help me to at least not show the ‘I’m-slowly-dying’ symptoms:
➢ Think of something positive before the speech- beach, bunnies, food (Yep, this is what I think of!)
➢ Music, music, music!
➢ Prepare well, but do not overthink it beforehand, otherwise you’ll go crazy even the night before the speech/presentation.
➢ Imagine the positive result, how glad and proud you’ll feel.
➢ Think about your role-model, someone that inspires you and what it takes him/her to be that inspirational.
➢ Have some water by your side.
➢ Take part in as many events involving public speaking or team-working as you can (Practice make perfect!)
As a whole, nowadays public speaking skills are essential whatever you’re studying or type of profession you want to have in future. It’s all about what you think, why you do so and how you can convince the people that it is worth listening to you and your ideas! Take it as an opportunity and use every occasion to practise while you’re in uni. Since I am here (and I am a first-year student) I have significantly improved my behaviour and way of thinking in terms of giving speeches or just talking to a lot of people. What helped me was just not giving up because the first times were not that successful.
At the end, why let yourself be afraid of public speaking when you can make public speaking afraid of you?