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5 Ways to Overcome Public Speaking Fears

The fear of public speaking has ruined the opportunities of many people. In this lesson, we present five effective ways to overcome public speaking fears!


Lesson Objectives 
At the end of the lesson, you will... 

✓ Take steps to deal with your public speaking fears. 
✓ Develop interest in the art of public speaking. 
✓ Be empowered to empower others. 

Here are some public speaking scenarios:

1. Be an emcee of an event
2. Do a presentation 
3. Give a welcome address 
4. Speak on behalf of a team
5. Perform (an art) on stage. 
6. Contribute to a discussion
7. Teach a class, etc. 

✓ Which of these do you shy away from? 

✓ What fears prevent you from taking up this responsibility? 

✓ When will you finally accept the challenge to do it? 

The following are some of the fears people have about public speaking:

1. I am shy; I can't stand in front of people.
2. I stammer; I fear that people will mock me.
3. I don't like to draw people's attention to myself.
4. I get tensed when I stand in front of people. I begin to shake and sweat profusely. 
5. Other people can do it better than me, so why me? 
6. I haven't done it before; I'm not ready today –next time!

Five Ways to Overcome Public Speaking Fears 

1. Build your confidence
Self-confidence is the belief that you can do things well. The opposite is "I cannot do it." This defeatist spirit seems to show up whenever you have to speak in public. 

How do you build your confidence? 

✓ Train your mind to accept the fact that you are unique and not inferior to anybody. Believe in your ability; don't belittle your standards because of other people. Inferiority complex is a disease; treat it as such.

✓ Read wide. "Study to show thyself approved." Buy books and read them to build your capacity. Competence comes with confidence. 

✓ Work on your looks and how you dress to occasions where you may be called to speak. When you dress shabbily, it kills your self-confidence. Dress smartly. Get some good perfume/cologne.

 2. Accept the first-time challenge
Amazingly, all that it takes to deal with the fear that prevents us from engaging in public speaking is to accept the first-time challenge. The truth is, it is absolutely all right to make mistakes on your first attempt. 

Your body will shake; your voice will tremble, almost to the point of crying; the microphone (if you are using one) may become heavier and more slippery than any other day; you would wish you had magic to disappear; time will take forever to pass, etc. It can be embarrassing, but you definitely need this experience! FUMBLE TODAY AND BE A MASTER TOMORROW!"

3. Learn from the first-time experience
There will never be another first-time experience in speaking in public even though there will be different first-times on different platforms; thus, you need to enjoy your very first-time experience--the good, the bad, and what made you want to vanish. 

You need to learn from the mistakes from your experiences. Some things are never taught; they are learnt through the mistakes you make. This is why you shouldn't worry too much about making mistakes; you actually need them. 

4. Plan and Prepare
The importance of planning cannot be overemphasised. If you are given a heads-up that you will speak or do something in public, take time to plan on what you are going to do. 

Many a time, the time used in planning may be more than the duration of the activity itself, but it is worth it. A surgery that lasts for an hour or less is the result of many years of training and practice. 

5. Get a role model/mentor
✓ Which speaker do you admire most? 
✓ What qualities does the person possess?
✓ Have you put yourself in the person's shoes before? 
✓ How does it feel? 
✓ Have you attempted to work towards it or you have left it at just admiration? 

All the good speakers you know today started as amateurs. They learned from their mistakes, and now, they are professionals. 

Take a positive action now to live your public speaking dreams! 

© Eric Nuamah Korankye (Hamlet) (Writer/Editor)

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