How To Get Over The Fear Of Public Speaking For Good: 5 Tips
Speaking in public is commonly known as one of the biggest fears worldwide, so if you’ve ever wondered how to get over the fear of public speaking, you’re not alone. Professional speaking is such an overwhelming concern that many people miss speaking opportunities simply due to public speaking anxiety.
It is possible to overcome your fear and speak in front of a group without crippling nerves. However, before we dive into how you can overcome this fear and book your first speaking gig, it’s crucial to ask what causes this fear.
If you can’t articulate why you are afraid of walking on stage for your next speaking engagement, knowing what fear to fight will present a challenge to you. So, the first question we should ask is simply…
What Causes Fear Of Public Speaking?
While fear of speaking varies from person to person, several fundamental fears may hinder you from a thriving speaking career. You may have the best public speaking skills, but if anxiety keeps you from your passion, it’s worth facing your fear.
Check out the video above!
Now, I know this will be a bit uncomfortable, but let’s see if we can find the skeletons that may hide in your closet, whether they lived there for years or decades.
Overcoming Failure: The Skeletons In Your Closet
We all experience failure at some point in time. It’s easy to let past failures define current opportunities.
If you let them, the skeletons in your closet can keep you from a bright future. TEDx speaker David Gerber personally understood fear, but rather than let it keep him from pursuing his dream. He faced his ego dragon.
Ever since he was young, David Gerber struggled with his ego, and this struggle was rooted deep within his subconscious. Finally, a series of events led David to face the skeletons in his closet, step on one of the world’s biggest stages, and give a TEDx talk.
Facing his fears allowed David to impact over 300,000 lives. Yet, thousands of people would not have benefited from hearing David Gerber’s powerful story if he had let fear rule him. Imagine what could happen if you faced your fears and pursued improving your skills?
Know Your Audience
Maybe you dream of becoming a motivational speaker but are afraid you would stand before an audience that doesn’t react. What’s worse than putting hours of thought into your speech, only to present it to audience members who are disengaged as zombies?
To combat this fear, you must know your audience before stepping onto the stage. The better you articulate your target audience, the more confidence you will have walking on stage.
Don’t worry if you don’t know where to start researching your audience: Even small steps such as talking with the event organizers can go a long way in learning who will make up your audience.
How To Get Over The Fear Of Public Speaking: 5 Tips
Now that you know some background on why you may be afraid of speaking publicly, there are specific steps you can take to overcome this fear. The critical fact to remember is that becoming a speaker is not just about knowing why you are afraid but taking the necessary steps to overcome the fear.
There are five specific points to follow. Digest these points one at a time, but you do not need to follow the particular order. For example, you may want to start with point five before hitting point one.
#1 – Know Your Topic
Knowing your topic is vital to your success when giving your talk and your confidence before you step on stage. For instance, maybe you wrote various blog posts on your website and now want to take these black and white words to the stage.
If you are a thought leader in your field, then you have a firm grasp of your topic. However, even if you don’t consider yourself one of the most well-versed professionals in your area, taking the time to conduct additional research on your subject matter will take your confidence to the next level.
#2 – Organize Your Talk
Once you have a solid understanding of your topic, it’s time to organize your talk. Again, this is a prime time to take to social media and look at what other people say on this topic.
Freshly organize your content, give a new perspective, and present your audience with an engaging speech. If you overcome your fear of public speaking, you can present your talk, but it takes focus and determination to organize it well. In short:
- Be concise
Take the time you need to develop an exciting opener, great middle content, and an ending your audience will think about long after exiting the venue.
#3 – Focus On Your Content
The more word-of-mouth marketing before your event, your audience will likely be more prominent. However, you may feel intimidated when you first take the stage and look out over the filled seats and rows of people.
Rather than let this intimidation scare you, use it as fuel to focus on the content you have prepared. You believe in your talk, and you put the time in to craft it in a way that will resonate with your audience.
Choose to channel your mental energy and focus on your content rather than the number of people before you. They came to hear you because they believe in you and what you have to say, so do yourself a favor and focus on the message you are eager to present.
#4 – Embrace Silent Moments
Did you know that part of the way birds communicate is through silence? Just as humans use nonverbal language to communicate, so do birds. So take note next time you watch a bird bob its head, flap its wings energetically, or flip its tail.
Every public speaker includes silences at some point in their speech. Silence can be overwhelming when you need to take a drink of water, a breath, or gather your thoughts. Instead of viewing silence as an enemy, embrace these moments for the powerful ones they are.
Some of the most vital communication moments in movies happen nonverbally. Think about Gollum falling into Mordor with the One Ring, Katniss Everdeen lifting the berries to her mouth, or Chris Evans ominously sitting at the funeral in The Grey Man.
These moments are powerful because they communicate so clearly without ever using words. You can use the silent moments in your speech to do the same.
#5 – Surround Yourself With A Support Team
One of the best ways to overcome your fear is to surround yourself with a team who will support, inspire, and encourage you when you are unable to do so for yourself.
Like every journey to success, you will experience ups and downs when you overcome your fear of public speaking. Finding the right team to push you forward when you feel like giving up is vital to your success.
Imagine what’s waiting on the other side of your fear: An audience ready and eager to hear what you have to say.
The way to get to that stage is through persistence, and having the right people to encourage you to persevere when the going gets tough can be the difference between overcoming or being overcome.
Be More Passionate About Your Story Than Afraid Of Your Ghosts
Now that you know the five tips to get over the fear of public speaking, it’s time to put them all together into one simple step.
You never know the power your story has to influence your audience. Someone may resonate with a line you added spontaneously, while another audience member may deeply connect with the ending you spent days crafting.
Whatever your story is, lean into your passion for your story. Refuse to focus on the ghosts that spark your anxiety.
Everyone has something:
- Maybe they’re afraid of failure
- Ashamed about a past mistake
- Simply uncomfortable being the center of attention
Whatever your ghosts are, they do not need to define your delivery. Instead, present your speech with confidence, and choose to focus on the passion that enflamed your desire to become a public speaker in the first place.
By the time you step on stage, you have done the necessary research and can speak professionally—all that’s left to share is your message. Do so passionately, and your audience engages that much better.
Remember, even if you need to pause to gather your thoughts (or your confidence!), that moment of silence can work wonders. Audiences don’t expect silence, so even two or three seconds of intentional silence can grab their attention.
Once you have their attention, show your passion. Focus on the power of your message rather than your fear of your ghosts.