3 Ways to Overcome Public Speaking Anxiety
“The Proof is in the Pudding.”
Ahhh, public speaking. These two words that consistently paralyze students, the dreaded speeches. As if it isn’t bad enough to have to write - NOW you have to present and sell your work.
I get it.
But this post isn’t for those of us that actually enjoy writing. It’s not for those of us that easily orchestrate our words. This post isn’t even for those of us that like to read lengthy “how-to’s” so I’ll do my best to keep this short!
If you’re reading this page, I’m assuming you have a fear of some sorts when speaking in front of a crowd.
I’ve been there, and even though I’ve developed a passion for communication - it doesn’t take away the fact that I faced extreme anxiety, and low self-esteem, making my efforts to stand in front of a crowd very difficult.
I have since been able to learn ways to overcome this anxiety, so that it now is a low “butterfly” feeling in my stomach - excitement.
I need to clear the air - when you’re “performing” for a crowd whether its music, dance, speaking, etc. it is completely natural to feel a little nervous before-hand. This is not to be confused with fear or extreme anxiety. (I’ll cover the differences in a later post, stay tuned!) In each of the 3 ways you’ll find the solution to your problem, along with an “easy hack” and “warning” to give you simple guidelines.
Without further ado,
1. Build your Vocabulary
This is KEY to becoming a confident public speaker. Ever heard “knowledge is power”? It’s absolutely fact in the world of speaking, and here’s why. When you have an extended vocabulary, it opens the doorway to creating art in through your words! When you create an inspiring piece of literature, it takes off the additional pressures of having to present it.
** EASY HACK : When writing a speech, try using a synonym tool online or a thesaurus to find quick and simple word replacements. For example in our own site name “Savvy Descant” - the word descant means to comment on, or speak. This is appealing more so than “Savvy Speak” “Or “Talk Savvy”.
*** WARNING : When using word replacements, make sure you always learn and understand the definition of the new words you are learning. Also be careful not to use too many fancy words in a speech, or else it can become unnatural. The goal is to take your vibe, and elevate it into a better you!
2. Start Small
There are several ways to do this. Take local classes, school courses, or join a Toastmasters Group! If you haven’t heard of Toastmasters, research the organization in your local area and research them! They are fantastic for building your confidence and speaking techniques, and it’s a great community to be a part of. Ask friends and family to sit and listen to you - OR practice giving your speech into a camera lens as if it were an audience. The camera technique works in a way that you can review the footage and critique yourself! It diminishes the possibility of embarrassment if you’re very uncomfortable speaking in front of humans..
** EASY HACK : Make a reasonable timeline for yourself. Toastmasters has a fee to be a part of the exclusive speaking community (some districts may allow free attendance). For example if you want to improve your public speaking in 3 weeks :
WEEK 1 - Camera Presentations
WEEK 2 - Present for Family / Friends
WEEK 3 - Go Live (camera) Or Public (crowd). (Find an open mic night, or host an event)
*** WARNING : Be careful not to rush yourself. Make your timeline reasonable, or reach out to me via the contact portion of the site for help creating this timeline! (I’ll make a more in depth-post later on).
3. Study other Speakers
This isn’t necessary for everyone, but again it helps develop confidence when you have your own speeches. It helps to watch others speak and perform, in ways that mold your own speaking style. If you’ve never stood up to speak in front of a crowd, it’s impossible to know what your style is. It’s impossible to know how you fold under the limelight until you’re there - but watching other speakers online or in person should help give you an idea of what you could look like!
** EASY HACK : Pick and research speakers that have an energy you want to portray in yours. Watching speakers that you want to learn from makes this process easier and more fun!
*** WARNING : Be careful not to mimic too much, you still want to be your own person! Also be aware that these professional speakers have had years of experience and refinement of their craft, so don’t expect to be exactly as they are right away - it takes time!
I hope this finds you well!
Ashley M. Rodriguez
IG : @mrs.ashleymrodriguez