Overcoming fear in public speaking:

February 28, 2011


Does the thought of walking onto stage leave you gasping for breath? Do your knees knock to the rhythm of a pounding heart when you have to address an audience? Or do you wish those waiting for you to speak would simply vanish into thin air?

Don’t worry, if the answer is yes. You are not the only one. Most of the well-known public speakers have been through this phobia and conquered it through practice and perseverance.  You can do it as well.  I would propose a few ideas:

  • Don’t expect too much from the audience. People perceive things differently. They will have different reactions always.  No one’s speech is appreciated by all. Your own expectations are the cause of anxiety. So, better be realistic.
  • Work on your self-esteem. Self-esteem and success in public speaking are directly linked. Repeatedly tell yourself, that you are the best person to deliver the speech, whether you volunteered for it or you were asked to do it.
  • You get nervous when you try to deliver too much in the allotted time. Be focused and think of two or three key points that you think you are best positioned to make. Then go ahead and just deliver them.  You may revisit the previous post: why should the audience listen to you?
  • Don’t give up. The phobia of public speaking can be overcome only by speaking and speaking consistently. With each effort, one gets better and learns something new.  Give yourself a target of at least ten events. If you don’t give up in between, I can assure you that you would have overcome your initial phobia.
  • Finally, let’s remember that public speaking is not limited to the stage but extends to the arenas of any social gathering, be it a classroom discussion, a party, an official meeting, an inter-college debate or a university interview.  Just go for each opportunity that comes your way.