But you don't have to give up so quickly. You fire on with your weak, fear-filled lines only to realize a few moments later that some of your confidence is gradually returning. Now that you are out of stage once more, you still keep imagining, what is this art of public speaking and how do I master it?
You may have seen people speaking to a crowd and they seem so fearless and composed. Are you probably thinking there is a secret to public speaking you've not yet grasped? Well, actually there is. Sometimes, you ask yourself? I am so fluent talking off-stage, why do I get off-balance on stage?
Public speaking is an art and to master this art of public speaking, there are quite a few things you'd have to put into it. Statistically, almost everyone in the world has at one time experienced stage freight. And for me, I have experienced it countless times and the truth is, the larger your audience becomes, the more you need to find ways to overcome the fear of public speaking.
You are called up know stage to say the very same things you may have said to someone before and suddenly, cold runs through your spine into your hands and everything changes. What we don't fully understand is why people experience the fear of public speaking. We will talk about this later but now, lets what public speaking is.
What Is Public Speaking?
If you have ever felt nervous or anxious while addressing a crowd, you are not alone. Almost everyone has experienced speech anxiety on stage at least once in their lives. To some, they quickly get themselves back after a few minutes of speaking. While for some others, the nervousness persists through the entire speech and even into moments after the speech has been delivered.
Another terminology for speech anxiety or the fear of public speaking is glossophobia. It is quite a common phobia with about 75% of the world's population affected by it. This statistics does not reflect the true values of people who experience fear of public speaking because everyone experiences it. However, the statistics include those whose major duty or job depends on public speaking or formal speeches.
While it may not be the top phobia, it’s considered to be quite common, with around 75% of the general population admitting that they’ve experienced it.
The physical symptoms of glossophobia vary in different people, but the most common are: increased sweating, stiffening and/or uncontrollable shaking of muscles, and increased blood pressure and heart rate. It elicits a fight or flight response, which makes you have tensed or quivering speech and making awkward pauses. But is there a way to manage glossophobia and in turn, stage freight? We will see this in full soon enough.
Why Is Public Speaking Important
Nothing kills you when you don't develop your public speaking skills, but you actually lose out from a lot because public speaking is a skill that finds application in any place where more than one person is, and in activities where people are to be influenced to do one or two things, say in an organization.
Public speaking skill is also required to convince people about your idea, sell your brand, and to push people to act in a given direction. Like I mentioned earlier, the art of public speaking doesn't always have to involve large crowds and audiences. The skill itself can find application in any group involving at least 3 other people.
Public speaking is a skill that enables you to create connection through effective communication, with people who matter to you, thus, expanding your network of people you truly need.
If you wish to share your ideas, innovations, inventions in the most captivating way ever, no one will explain further how much you need public speaking.
Just take a look at these above, who doesn't need those at some point? Everyone, therefore, needs public speaking because it is that important.
Why Do You Experience Fear of Public Speaking?
In order to find a solution to this common problem, we first need to understand why people fear public speaking, why those hormones of flight and freight are released in the first place. Sometimes, it becomes so unclear to you why you are afraid, it looks to you as though the feeling were subconscious and uncontrollable. And more so, they actually are uncontrollable and reflexive because your brain actually fears the scene. In other words, both you and your brain are afraid. But what are some factors that may result in this feeling of unwarranted fear?
Here are some factors that may cause that;
- Self-perception about your abilities.
- Lack of public speaking skills.
- Lack of preparation.
- New and specific situations.
Self-perception About Your Abilities
Lack of Public Speaking Skills
Lack of Preparation
New and specific situations
- First time addressing a large audience.
- Standing in front of examiners or judges.
- Trying to express an idea that is new to everyone else.
- Addressing an audience with very great personalities and personality figures.
- Engaging with a new audience you are not so familiar with.
How To Develop Your Public Speaking Skills
- Know your objective.
- Know your audience.
- Know your speech/idea.
- Know yourself.
Knowing Your Objective
- Capture people's attention: This involves a combination of appearance (look presentable and interesting), great introductory statements and stories that capture their attention, and cite interesting examples or case scenarios.
- Keep them in the flow: You achieve this by making sure that the body of your speech builds up on your introductions, use suspense to spark their desire to listen more, carry them along by thinking out possible questions they could ask and provide an answer to them immediately.
- Make them excited or feel good: They could bet tired, no matter how resourceful you have become. This is where making them excited and happy comes in. As the excitements begin to dwindle, make sure to awaken them by means of story, jokes, music or any I retesting outside your major topic.
- Then end well: Great endings are as important as great beginnings. When you beginning is great, you are able to carry your audience through the entire speech, but a great ending gives you the applause you deserve. It leaves them with no choice than to put their hands together for you. This may not be so much reward but it can further give you the reassurance that you are already mastering the art of public speaking,
Knowing Your Audience
- Your audience believe in you.
- Your audience wants to be entertained or educated by you.
- They want you to succeed.
- They will do everything they can to cheer you up when you find it hard.
- Even when they laugh you to scorn, it is because they find it uncontrollably amusing.
Knowing Your Speech/Idea
- Find ways to boost your confidence.
- Practice to strengthen memory.
- Practice meditation to enhance focus and calm your nerves.
- Focus on the goal and not on failure.
- Rest well to prevent anxiety.
- Assure yourself you have what it takes.
- Be yourself as much as possible, be original even when copying someone else.
- Work on breathing, learn the square breathing technique.
- Start practising early enough.
- Do your best to express yourself but learn to not make your audience notice any struggle in you.
- Find and create more opportunities to speak
- Attend a public speaking class, if necessary
- Find a partner who is also interested in developing their public speaking skills
- Maximize every opportunity to speak in public
- Seek the help of a therapist or doctor if you always become morbidly anxious