There are several personality types and amongst them the introverted, shy and reserved type certainly exists. Whether we like it or not, public speaking will be a vital part of our lives, especially if we intend to grow in our respective careers. Even if you’re an IT person who sits in front of a computer screen all day, if you get to managerial or ownership levels which I would hope you aspire to do, you may have to deliver sessions, or speak to audiences of different sizes.
We all get those bugs that form in our stomachs right before it’s time to speak and also the amnesia that befalls us erasing all the perfect sentences we had in place to say. With a lot of prep, a lot of practice and gradual compliment building, you can become the fluent speaker that you though fear wouldn’t allow you to become.
Here are a few tips on how to overcome your fear of public speaking;
- Know your stuff: We can sometimes sweet talk others, but the one person we can’t deceive is ourselves. Knowledge builds confidence naturally, and a lack of it increases fear of being found incompetent! Read extensively on the topic you will be speaking about and make sure you understand it thoroughly. Think about how easily and readily you speak about subjects you understand and then compare it to a scenario where you’re talking about something you don’t really understand or have knowledge on. As a popular bible scripture has said, “study to show yourself approved”!
- Practice in front of friends or a mirror: if you are one of those who have refused to accept mediocrity, then practice must become your best friend! Watch yourself speak, record yourself when you speak, put yourself in the place of the audience and see how others receive your message. This will help you work on your tone, pauses, gestures and also help you hear first hand how you articulate yourself.
- Believe in yourself: All of the tips I have given you are useless if you do not believe in your voice. One of the things that make some of the greatest public speakers so great is the conviction with which they speak. You must believe in every word and deliver it with every ounce of belief. Believe in your ability to impact, believe in your ability to transfer knowledge, and believe in your ability to say something meaningful that may change the life of the people listening forever.
About the author: Elizabeth Ayoola is a vibrant writer and spoken word artist who enjoys discussing an array of topics ranging from personal development, to social issues. She manages a spoken word website www.oro.com.ng, as well as a blog about her experiences living in Nigeria at www.themelodiesofajjc.com. You can find her on Twitter @beepoetic.