Don’t let a fear of public speaking hold you back.

It is estimated that over 75% of people have Glossophobia (a fear of public speaking to you and me) to varying degrees. The idea of speaking in front of an audience fills many people with abject horror, and in some cases can be completely debilitating. There is also considerable research to suggest that this fear can be detrimental to an individual’s career and earning potential. As a recruitment specialist we know that being able to speak confidently and competently in front of other people is a valuable commodity indeed, whether that be a presentation in front of board members or a keynote address at an industry conference. Although conquering the fear of public speaking may seem like an insurmountable task to some, here’s some advice that can help you to overcome this barrier.

 

Walk before you can run…

Jumping right into hosting a multi-national televised conference may not be the best idea. Start off as small as possible by practicing in front of a mirror paying close attention to your body language, facial expressions and gestures. The next step will be to gather a group of friends or family somewhere you feel comfortable and try out your skills. You might want to then give it a go in front of a few trusted colleagues at the office. Face your fears on a smaller scale and the larger scale will become less and less daunting.

 

Don’t put all your eggs in one Powerpoint…

A good presentation can be very beneficial, it can help you regain your train of thought if you get stuck, it can help to engage the audience and it can provide a good resource for people to take notes and see the main points of your presentation. However over-reliance on your presentation can be costly. Large portions of text that you read directly from is a sure-fire way to switch off your audience. A good presentation provides a backdrop, it compliments what you are saying without distracting the audience. Although it may be scary, you need to be the main point of focus.

 

Do some karaoke…

A lot of the anxiety associated with public speaking comes from an innate fear of embarrassing yourself in front of others. So do things you might be embarrassed to do in other parts of your life. You will soon realise that being “embarrassed” isn’t as scary as you think and your confidence will grow.

 

Silence is not awkward…

This is a public presentation, not a rap battle – take your time. You will have the urge to talk as fast as possible to get through it, but just take a deep breath a get into a good flow with your speech. Talking too quickly will lead to rambling and repeating yourself just to fill silences, don’t be scared of the silence. It is completely fine to take a pause to gather your thoughts and prepare your next talking point, just as you would in a normal conversation.

 

Know your material…

This is the best advice possible we can give to help you succeed at public speaking. If you know the topic inside out you will never be stuck for words and your enthusiasm for the subject will be clear to the audience. It will also give you the confidence to field any questions that are thrown your way.

 

We hope this advice will help you overcome your fears and put you on the right path to becoming a public speaking superstar. If you need any advice or help with your career, the team at Maxwell Stephens are always here to help.