Break The Fear Of Public Speaking

By Natasha A. Unzueta

Fear of public speaking -- it's more widespread than we suspect. My daughter, in fact, was an A student in college whose last required class was public speaking. She was so anxious about facing an audience she called me to say, "I may have to drop out of college; I just can't do this dad. Public speaking makes me physically ill."

I spent hours on the telephone with her over several months helping her overcome these fears, as best I could, and toward the end of the semester she called to say, "Dad, I gave my last speech today and everybody told me, including my instructor, what a good job I did. You know what?" "What?" I asked. "I love talking about nutrition," which is what her final speech was about -- eating to be healthy rather than putting "packing material" into your stomach.

Therefore, improving the confidence and capability to give good presentations, and to stand up in front of an audience and speak well, are also tremendously helpful competencies for self-development too.Presentations and public speaking skills are not limited to specially gifted people - anyone can give a good presentation, or perform public speaking professionally and impressively. Like most things, it simply takes a preparation and practice to improve your skills and abilities.

By the time Byron finished, he had literally torn off strip after strip of the notes he'd brought to the front of the class and eaten it strip by strip. By the time he finished his speech his digestive tract was busy digesting the paper he'd written on. Of course with each strip he'd torn, wadded up, placed in his mouth and swallowed, Byron became more flustered because he was trying to do was read his speech and, of course, the words were disappearing and he ended up, at the end, with nothing to read from. I'm sorry to say none of us were able to contain our laughter although to see the school tough guy go through the agonies of delivering "a few words" about himself were, frankly, satisfying. He didn't seem like such a tough guy by the time he fidgeted back to his seat.

On another occasion a few years later I was a member of a public speaking club that met weekly. We used up a lot of time that night discussing our annual party for spouses and friends we wanted to invite. The discussion finally came down to what beverages would be served. Coffee, of course, was on the agenda and why it took over a half hour merely to discuss coffee I'm about to tell you because what happened is another of those unforgettable images etched in my mind thanks to Mr. O.For nearly fifteen minutes he gave an impassioned speech about why we needed to rent special coffee urinals, instead of urns, and yes our budget was tight, but he felt so strongly that we needed to splurge and rent coffee urinals that well, we were laughing so hard, we let him go on and on about coffee urinals longer than decorum should have permitted. My ribs ached for a week and we're lucky no one laughed so hard an emergency vehicle had to be called to cart them off to the emergency room of the nearby local hospital.

Despite the terror you experience in front of an audience you can become a confident public speaker. You can experience the same freedom and normalcy that you feel when talking to your friends in front of an audience. So please, my friend, do not miss out of life or suffer a life of ruin because of fear of public speaking. There is no joy there.The fear of public speaking is one of life's most stressful experiences. It is not uncommon for people to be utterly terrified of public speaking to a crowd. A number of individuals would rather fall dead than walk up on a stage and address a gathering. In fact, it needn't even be a gathering. For some people, even the concept of a thousand people being able to hear or see them speak, either by means of the radio or through television, can make them break out in a cold sweat.

What helped me shake my nervousness was a statement made by Dale Carnegie to the effect that, in the old days, when messages were delivered by telegrams, people who received the telegram were far more interested in the MESSAGE than they were the guy who delivered it. In other words, get your mind off yourself and onto your message, he indicated, and you will see giving a speech isn't about you.Speaking about you, however, I can tell you that as your audience we want you to succeed. Those frightfully embarrassing moments when you're shaking, your face is flushed, you don't know what to do with your hands, you're fidgeting, we are having a difficult time watching you suffer. You have, in effect, distracted us from what you have to say and made the speech more about yourself, and that always makes an audience feel uneasy.

Quote: Understanding our fears is the first and most important step to conquering them. As the saying goes, don't try to get rid of the butterflies - just get them flying in formation.OTHER WAYS TO HELP OVERCOME YOUR FEAR,Know your material inside out. Remember the quote: prior preparation prevents poor performance. It could also say that: prior preparation presents perfect performance.Know the room- arrive early and check out where everything is. Walk around and look at things from the audiences view.Make contact with your audience before you speak. It's wonderful to have made friends that you can connect with while speaking.Use good relaxation and breathing exercises. Watch how you speak about yourself. Change: "I am so nervous", to: "I am really excited." What you say is what you get. Change the nervous energy to enthusiasm.

The body of your speech,you organize your examples, quotes, facts, and statistics toward the response you desire. The body is where you present your points and proofs, making sure they all connect and move forward and connect to your concluding remarks.The conclusion of your speech is, I believe, one of its more strategic elements. If well-handled it will be remembered and you will leave your audience with a lasting impression.

The conclusion of your speech is not synonymous with the fact you've stopped talking. Here it's your job to wrap up and sell your presentation with a conclusion like an archer who sends the arrow directly into the center of the target he or she is aiming at, that center being your audience's interests.I don't know who first said it but I'm sure my former college speech teacher read this somewhere before imparting its wisdom to his freshman public speaking class and the statement goes like this:Public speakers are known by their entrances and exits!

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