Let’s face it; public speaking anxiety is a REAL thing. 75% of the population suffers from glossophobia, which is the fear of public speaking. I can personally say I used to be a part of that 75% and never imagined myself giving others advice about public speaking. I remember the first day I was told that I had to introduce at least two guest speakers during my apprenticeship at Ed Farm. Upon hearing this, I thought to myself, Emma, you know you’ve never done this before, and you’ll make a complete fool out of yourself. I thought then that I would disappoint everyone when it was my turn to present, but I had to swallow my fears and prove that I could make everyone proud. Believe it or not, I volunteered to present our first guest speaker for the program, and I did extremely well! Now, I know you’re probably thinking, How can someone go from being extremely terrified to being comfortable with public speaking? Well, look no further; I am here to help you conquer your public speaking fears with some extremely helpful tips and tricks.
Personal Tips and Tricks
- Practice Makes Perfect
Trust me when I say the phrase, Practice makes perfect, is entirely true. You can’t expect to conquer your public speaking fears overnight, but you can become more confident with practice. Practicing your speech out loud every day can help you in every way possible. It doesn’t matter if you practice out loud to yourself or your pets; as long as you rehearse, it will help! Sometimes when I practice for an upcoming speaking event/speech, I talk out loud to my three cats to hear how my speech sounds. Whichever way you choose to practice, believe me when I say it’ll work!
2. Don’t Sweat It
Yes, I know that might sound easier said than done, but it’s not as hard as you think. It’s perfectly fine to be nervous or anxious because we’re all human. However, it is important to know that the audience you will be presenting to knows what it’s like to speak in front of a large crowd. Don’t worry about mispronouncing or skipping words as long as you don’t make it extremely noticeable that you messed up. Just remember that no matter how your speech goes, you had the guts to stand up and present to an audience!
3. Find Your Own Ritual
Now you’re probably thinking, Ritual? Is she talking about what I think she’s talking about? No, I’m not, but I am talking about the type of ritual you do before your public speech. Rituals can help you prepare for your speech and get rid of any jitters you might have. There are many different rituals you can do; you have to find your own. Personally, I like to pray before a public speech or channel out my negative thoughts. There are many different rituals you can choose from like dancing, singing, exercising, etc. If you can’t find a ritual that you like, then you can create your own. As long as you’re comfortable with your ritual and positive, then it doesn’t matter what your ritual consists of. In my opinion, the main purpose of a ritual is to help with your nervousness and calm your mind. No matter what ritual you decide to do, remember to pick something that’ll ease your mind and prepare you for your speech.
Tips & Tricks from the Web
- Be Your Authentic, Imperfect Self
While doing my research, I stumbled upon a blog called beautiful.ai. The blog has 7 tips for Successful Public Speaking, and tip #4 stood out the most to me. Being your authentic, imperfect self means that you shouldn’t try to be someone that you’re not; instead of focusing on giving a “perfect speech,” think about giving a speech that’s from the heart and be yourself. It’ll be easy for the audience to tell if you’re not authentic, so being the REAL you is your best bet. Also, remember that there is no such thing as a “perfect speech,” so go out there and show the real you!
2. Transform Nervous Energy into Enthusiasm
Another helpful blog I discovered is called WordStream. This blog lists 20 Ways to Improve Your Presentation Skills, and tip #2 caught my eye. Transforming your nervous energy into enthusiasm is something no one tends to think about but makes a world of difference. Getting pumped and excited before a presentation might sound a little crazy, but it might be something we all need to consider after reading the blog. If you’re anything like me and love caffeine, then that might be your go-to for some energy beforehand because no one wants to listen to a boring presentation. You also want to remember that you don’t want to get overly pumped and show way too much energy during your presentation!
3. Use Positive Visualization
After reading the blog on WordStream, I found that tip #7 was extremely helpful. Most people tend to think that their presentation will be a disaster and not end well. Believe it or not, envisioning that your speech will end well and you’ll do great will actually benefit you. As stated in the blog, studies have proven that using positive visualization is extremely effective. When you envision a positive outcome to a scenario, it is more likely to play out the way you envisioned it. Next time you have a public speech, think positively and imagine your speech going extremely well!
I want to give a special shout-out to the Ed Farm Team for helping me develop my public speaking skills and conquer my public speaking anxiety. There are two main ways the Ed Farm Team helped me conquer my public speaking anxiety. First, I would practice my speech in front of my Ed Farm peers and receive constructive feedback about how I did. Second, I would ask the team about pronouncing difficult or unfamiliar words, which was extremely helpful. Overall, I learned that there are many different ways to conquer your public speaking anxiety, thanks to the Ed Farm Team!
Glossophobia(Fear of Public Speaking): Are You Glossophobic? https://www.psycom.net/glossophobia-fear-of-public-speaking
Beautiful.ai- 7 Tips for Successful Public Speaking. https://www.beautiful.ai/blog/seven-tips-for-effective-public-speaking
WordStream- 20 Ways to Improve Your Presentation Skills. https://www.wordstream.com/blog/ws/2014/11/19/how-to-improve-presentation-skills
Emma Hoppes is a graduating senior at Huffman High School. Emma is an Ed Farm apprentice through the Birmingham Promise Program. In the fall, Emma will be attending Jefferson State Community College.