How to Overcome Public Speaking Anxiety
Fear of public speaking is an incredibly common experience. While it may not necessarily be true that most people would prefer to die rather than speak in front of a crowd, studies have shown that a fear of public speaking is the most common type of social phobia. Known as glossophobia, surveys have found between 14 and 48 per cent of respondents experience some fear of public speaking.
Fortunately, public speaking is a skill that anyone can improve with the right strategies and practise.
How to Quickly Overcome Public Speaking Anxiety
Lisa-Jane Bell is a trainer in public speaking at MSA Training and Professional Development who overcame her own anxieties about public speaking.
“In the past I have hated public speaking but having worked through the stress of it I now feel a great sense of pride throughout the whole process,” she said.
“It was not something I ever expected to be able to do.
“Now I thrive on creating space for people to develop their own public speaking skills.”
Lisa-Jane says there are numerous ways to quickly overcome anxiety before delivering a speech.
“Prepare your material well and do a good amount of speaking practise, but don’t over-do it,” she said.
“Take 20 deep breaths just before you start speaking to the audience. It will calm you down considerably and give your voice a more mellow, grounded tone when you start speaking.
“Take it all bit by bit and imagine yourself doing a fantastic job of it. Fast forward to the end of the presentation and think about what it will feel like to have given a brilliant on-point presentation.”
Why it’s Important to Develop Public Speaking Skills
According to Lisa-Jane, public speaking can be an essential skill in a professional setting.
“There are a lot of obvious reasons why good public speaking is a great professional skill to have,” she said.
“These can include promoting your product and creating a wider audience through presentations.
“Overcoming the fear of public speaking can also build deeper levels of confidence that can improve your professional performance across the board.”
Improving Long-Term Public Speaking Skills
MSA Training and Professional Development offers multiple courses for improving public speaking, dependent on skill level. Public Speaking for Beginners is the ideal course for those wishing to overcome the symptoms of public speaking anxiety, such as butterflies and shaky hands.
Lisa-Jane says the course is designed to help students feel more comfortable when speaking in front of others.
“We work on all the small pieces of good public speaking and give the students a basic roadmap to follow,” she said.
“When our brains are stressed, we need very simple instructions.
“We work on a few interesting practise exercises, rather than throwing students into the spotlight like a deer in the headlights!”
Public Speaking in Practise is also offered for those wishing to further develop their ability to speak confidently and engagingly.
“There is an opportunity to do a small presentation and individual feedback is given so the students can make tiny tweaks to improve their performance,” Lisa-Jane said.
“At the end of the course it is hard to keep the students quiet as they are keen to use their newly acquired skills.”