Whether you want to accept it or not, fear of speaking in a meeting is shared by most people. According to Mark Twain, there are only two kinds of speakers – those who are nervous or those who lie about it.
Glossophobia or the fear of public speaking, can ruffle the best of us. Remember that one time when someone asked you to speak in front of a meeting room full of people. Did it leave you searching for excuses to get out of it?
Experts believe that many extreme cases are related to incidents from childhood that are not easy to forget. However you can't cower behind an excuse every time someone asks you to speak in public. So here are some of the best tips that experts like to recommend:
1. Stop imagining the worst
Psychologists are of the opinion that the main reason why people are afraid is because they worry about the consequences and imagine the worst. So, try to avoid thinking about what's going to happen during or after your speech, before you give it.
2. Practice your opening
People also get anxious when they forget what they were going to say to start with their speech. You can counter this anxiety by practising your opening lines over and over, till it's on your tongue.
3. Hold a two way conversation
If you keep talking to your audience without knowing what they are thinking, it can make you anxious. However, if you can engage them in a conversation by asking a question or making them do something, it will not only help you to collect your thoughts together, but also make your speech that much more interesting.
4. Know where to look
When you are reading your speech from a paper, your eyes go back to the paper every few seconds. But when you are doing an extempore, you end up staring at the same person, watching their expressions. This can easily make you nervous. Try to look at the audience in general, but no one in particular.
Experts believe that anxiety and nervousness is caused by excessive energy that is built up in the body in anticipation. On the day of your presentation, you should try to exercise in the morning. Go jogging, practice your dance moves or your moves with your partner.
6. Try acupressure
There are acupressure points on your body that you can tap with your fingers to release endorphins that relieve anxiety.
7. Don't make your speech a grand issue
If you are going to place more emphasis on your speech than what is necessarily required, even small speeches will turn you into a nervous wreck, mainly because you will picture them as a big hurdle that you need to overcome.
Practising some of these tips in public may leave you embarrassed, especially when someone in the audience realises what you are trying to do. You should experiment with different techniques to find what suits your style, and if you can be inconspicuous while tapping your forehead in public, go ahead!
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