One of the greatest fears Americans express is the fear of speaking to a group of people in public. Some research shows that fully 3 out of 4 Americans are afraid to speak publicly. Many of those are people are in position of leadership, who- by nature of their positions- are required to communicate to groups of people. I hope that you are the one in four who has mastered those negative emotions associated with speaking or teaching in public and can prepare and deliver every time. But in case your knees still knock and you sweat buckets and your voice cracks, try these tips I have learned to help alleviate the fear and to add confidence to your presentation:
Be sure you are intimately familiar with the content you are to deliver. Prepare and prepare again. Rehearse. Know your time and topic restrictions; that keeps you on topic and away from time-draining rabbit chasing.
2) Embrace the Awkward
Don’t fight the emotions that come with the responsibility to speak. Yes, it can be frightening; yes, you may fail. But the more opportunities you have to speak, the easier the task becomes. So don’t get caught up in the emotions, but embrace the challenge.
3) Don’t Go It Alone
Recruit a friend- either at the office or outside work- to be your silent cheerleader while you speak. Find an encourager who is available to be with you and who will be your encourager no matter how eloquently you communicate or how big you bomb. There is power in community, and strength in friendship. Use that power to your advantage.
Not everyone is required to speak publicly; and not everyone who wants it has the opportunity to speak. Cherish the opportunity to grow; do your best, then pack it away. Don’t dwell in the embarrassment or bask in the glory of a well-delivered presentation. Get back to your passion, and be prepared to stand and deliver every time you are asked.