What is it about public speaking?

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VENTURES AFRICA – Have you ever wondered how your voice practically ceases whenever you are required to give a speech, make a presentation or simply a request in public? Although specialists have termed the fear of public speaking ‘Glossophobia or speech anxiety’, it is something that can be dealt with constant practise and determination.

So what is it about this duty that creates such anxiety? The truth is that most people are scared of looking stupid, being judged or feeling like a complete disappointment. However in the world of today, public speaking, business writing, and interpersonal communication have all become inevitable. This is because our world is increasingly becoming corporate and formal. Jolene Church, Trainer with Toastmasters International, member of the Speakers Association and LinkedIn Influencer proposed a few tips for overcoming this phobia.

It is important to realize that the group you are speaking are the same people you spoke to about your adventurous weekend or the new gadget you’d like to buy. “Why is it that we lose our ability to have a conversation when we stand in front of a group of people?” The audience you have in front of you, are in most cases relatively harmless. In fact you are having a conversation with them, but this time, you will be tasked with managing the direction of the conversation.

Involve your audience, that way the voice in your presentation remains conversational. “Ask questions. and tell a funny story by saying, “Is it just me, or has anyone experienced…?” While keeping this in mind, remember to distract your audience by fidgeting, using hand gestures or looking their heads.

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It would also be wise to get comfortable- one of the few ways to ensure that a great job is done. Dress comfortably yet professional, that way you can concentrate. “When you are self-conscious of what you are wearing, how you styled your hair, etc., this will add to your anxiety.”

Lastly, outline your points before hand. There is nothing worse being ill prepared for a public speech or presentation. Ensure that you avoid memorising every detail, instead focus on the strong points. Almost everyone practices in front of the mirror, even President does it! “If you skip over something, you can come back- and guess what?! Your audience won’t know that you messed up because they don’t know your presentation.” It doesn’t have to be so difficult as practise without a doubt makes perfect.
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