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Overcoming Public Speaking Fears Forever

Aug 18, 2007
The thought of speaking in public makes most people break out in a cold sweat, feel faint, and see spots in front of their eyes. If you have this type of reaction there are a number of strategies you can use to help you overcome public speaking fears

Needless to say you must be prepared; have memorized your speech. It's quite alright to bring a sheet of notes or pointers with you, but nothing smells like disaster as much as reading your entire speech.

One method you can use to improve your public speaking abilities is by practicing in front of a mirror. Put a smile, a quizzical expression or other gesture wherever appropriate: you will remember and use them during the actual speech. And speak up! Nothing is worse than listening to a speech no one can hear. So as you practice keep the volume up. When you deliver your speech your volume will indicate confidence, both to yourself and your audience.

There are some things you should (and should not) do immediately before your speech. Don't drink any caffeine based products like coffee, colas or chocolate. Caffeine can cause you to feel jittery and nervous and that's not the effect you want. Contrary to popular opinion, alcohol will not boost your confidence, instead it can cause a panic attack. Relaxing herbal teas make a wonderful alternative. And eat a well balanced meal before your presentation. Low blood sugar can cause feelings of anxiety, increasing your jitters.

Make sure you wear clothes that you feel good in and that are appropriate to the setting. When you step up to the podium you will feel confident that you look good.

As you give your speech do not concentrate on yourself, on how you look or how you think the audience is reacting to you. Instead, concentrate on the information you want to present and how it will effect their lives. Something in your presentation may change someone's life.

The thought of helping others will change you from being a nervous, self-conscious speaker to a comfortable and confident one who people enjoy listening to. Another component of a well delivered speech is selecting a topic of interest to you, if you have the freedom to choose. You will be excited about being able to share this information with others and your excitement will show.

When you first approach the podium and as you are preparing you notes, take a quick look at three people in the audience, one immediately in front of you, one to the left of you and the third to the right of you. Look for something that makes them stand out, perhaps someone with a unique hairdo or an interesting piece of clothing. Anything that makes them stand out of the crowd.

These three people will be your focal points. As you look from one to the other during your speech, it appears that you are looking around the room. Once you are comfortable with those three you will find it is much easier to continue glancing at other members of the audience. Remember to refer to your notes but do not read them, since that is the fastest way to lose your audience; look at your audience instead.

No speech will be loved by everyone and no speech will be perfect, but each time you speak in public it will be a little easier. You may even find that eventually you will become a proficient speaker, no longer have the public speaking fears and seek out other opportunities for speaking in public.
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