How to Conquer Crippling Public Communication Fear
With the ease of technology and growing use of online and mobile conversations, it is no wonder the fear of public speaking is still high on the list of every American’s worst fears. Teenagers are used to tweeting a crush or texting a friend, and business people are joining the ranks with more and more companies moving their campaigns online. Sweaty palms and beating hearts are normal reactions to the thought of speaking in public, but these tips can help you keep it in control and conquer your public communication fears.
Be conscious of the message you are sending with your body language because much of communication is nonverbal. Watch other people and see what you understand without them using words. You’ll notice the traits of a confident person usually consist of steady eye contact, great posture, purposeful gestures and a smile. What are those of someone who is unsteady, scared or unsure? Realize you may naturally respond to new situations by looking down, keeping a straight face or folding your arms across your chest. Be aware of those habits and try to break them by practicing behaviors of confident people you respect.
No matter what you have to say, if you say it in a monotone everyone will be bored. Presentation is everything when speaking in public, whether you are giving a speech or just talking in front of your coworkers during a company meeting. Believe in what you say and be excited about it. Use fluctuation in your voice and change the structure of sentences periodically for variety. Think of someone you enjoy being around or listening to when they speak. Take Dallas-based Pastor Ed Young for example. When he speaks, he not only teaches ideologies he feels strongly about but he speaks with conviction. Find what you are passionate about and use a tone that expresses that.
Know the context in which you are supposed to present or the relationship you have with your audience. If you are asked to speak at a company conference, your coworkers may know you so you won’t have to spend too much time explaining your expertise or hoping they understand your jokes. If you are speaking in public somewhere new, you’ll want to sprinkle in bits of your experience and personality so the audience will want to keep listening.
Odd that content is last on the list, isn’t it? But first you need to get your audience’s attention using your body language and tone and keep it with your presentation and similar understanding of why you are there. Then you can say what you need to say and they will be attentive and ready to hear it. According to Publicspeakinginternational.com, reputable public speakers spend less time on their content and more time focusing on their ability to influence people.
Prepare your message thoroughly, but be prepared to explain it like you would to a friend. The best public speakers seem comfortable and like they are having a one-on-one conversations with everyone in the room. Know your material well enough to seem like you are up there without a script, but definitely don’t go without one. Practice giving your speech beforehand and understand the content completely. Knowing your audience, using nonverbal skills and demonstrating confidence and knowledge are all key components in getting your message across clearly as a public speaker so people can best understand your content.