Public speaking fears are one of the top most common fears. People will run a mile rather than talk in public, even if it's just one line.
Why? Well, this particular fear may probably be related to a past experience, and in particular, to childhood - at school did you ever put up your hand, and if you did, were you confident in the answer? Did you worry that you might have the wrong answer and look stupid in front of the class? Highly likely unless you were a top A Student.
I believe that most public speaking fears can be traced back to your school days, and the fear of failure you had if the answer was wrong and wishing you hadn't put your hand up, and you certainly wouldn't hurry to give an answer the next time.
This may not be why you have a fear of public speaking, but I'm sure it is for many.
I know it's nerve wracking speaking in public, I've done it and used to HATE it (this came from having to do a newsflash of 3 very very short items in front of the school when I was about 14 and I forgot all the words, we weren't allowed notes, and I will never forget it!).
I overcame that fear, and later on was talking in front of 1000 people - a big task for someone who doesn't like speaking in public.
How did I overcome my fear? The same way you can.
I knew that what I was talking about was going to be giving the audience information that they wanted (which was why they were listening). Knowledge is power, so they say. I knew what I was talking about and made a conscious decision to change my attitude towards my fear of public speaking.
You don't need to be super duper fantastic, but you do need a bit of passion and belief, and that will really WOW the audience.
You won't suffer fear of failure if you have done your homework and are knowledgeable about your subject (which I hope you are!) - and just inject some passion.
PASSION in public speaking makes all the difference. And I don't want to hear you saying, "but I can't be passionate". Yes you can, you just need to enthuse in what you are talking about, even sales figures can become exciting!
Deal with your public speaking fears by taking positive action and this will hugely increase your confidence.
Attitude, as in all self improvement advice is key once again. You MUST change your thinking from "I hate public speaking" to something that will motivate and encourage you.
"I find speaking on.... subject really gratifying"
"The information I give today is going to help those listening to make an informed decision", and so on.
WRITE DOWN your positive affirmations on a small card and carry it with you, take it out and look at it before you speak.
Public speaking nerves can get the better of you, and it's sometimes good to have nerves as it gets the adreneline going, but fears and nerves are different, and public speaking fears can be overcome by the techniques I have mentioned:
- PASSION AND ENTHUSIASM
- POSITIVE AFFIRMATIONS
Remember, we are all the same, we are only human beings. Impart your knowledge and enthusiasm to your audience and your fear of public speaking WILL be overcome.
One other little tip, volunteer to do it more often and it gets easier and easier - trust me!
You can do it!