Day 555. Public speaking is said to said to be feared more than death. It’s so feared that it has its own word: glossophobia. If public speaking scares you, the best advice I can give is to join an organization as Toastmasters international or take courses to overcome this anxiety and help you deliver confidently speeches. However, over the years, with training and experience (nothing replaces experience in that matter), I came with three easy and simple hacks to overcome fear of public speaking. They do not require a PhD to understand or to apply. It’s jolly effective though! Here they are:
- Write and rehearse. At the exception of impromptu speeches, all prepared speeches need to be written in extenso. From the first to the last word. Not that you will be reading your speech, but writing is the first killer of anxiety. The second killer is to rehearse, rehearse, and when you are over, rehearse again. For a national contest, I repeat a minimum fifty times (yes fifty, five zero) my speech. I will know it by heart, but will rarely deliver the same words. It just anchors the flow and the ideas. Even the best actors rehearse, so should you!
- Breathe. Breathing is essential to speaking. Because while speaking you exhale, you need to inhale. Focus on your breathing. I actually do a dozens of deep breathing before stepping on stage. Not only it will calm you down, it will add extra oxygen in your blood that can get you a little bit dizzy, this will contribute to getting relaxed.
- Speak slowly. Let me tell you that everybody speaks too fast! If you think you are going too slow, record and listen. There is a big chance you will find you still speak too fast. You need to slow down from the beginning to allow you to breathe, to articulate, and to pause. If you speak slowly, you can accelerate to emphasize some dramatic pieces. There is a difference between pace and tone. You can have a joyful tone while going slowly. Do not fall in the trap of becoming monotonous, but allow yourself to slow down.
Of course, this addresses only the delivery of any public speech and not its content. The content will require another post, but you will find in this article from inc.com, 20 great advices, as well as 20 TED and TEDx videos to see different styles and effectiveness. I want to live you with one simple thought: stage fright is normal. Everybody has it! The day it disappears is the day you are becoming complacent and do not grow anymore. Do not be scared by stage fright, welcome it! It’s the signal that what you’re about to do matters to you! Just go and plunge!