There was once a time when I had no fear. I was 11 years old and I entered a story telling competition. I was confidently telling the story and captured everyone’s attention until suddenly I heard a voice from just in front of the stage commenting about my nose. It’s totally disastrous from that moment on. I lost focus and forgot the script altogether. That’s the exact time that I began to have a certain fear of public speaking.
Over the years, I finally overcome my fear of public speaking. I can now speak at any function unprepared and even though the nervousness is still there, I am able to control it. It was not easy but I made it with some help from books and a few techniques I develop myself.
Hopefully these tricks will be able to help you as they had helped me in overcoming fear of public speaking.
1) Admit nervousness
All you have to do is admit that you are a bit nervous speaking to your audience. When you do this, the audience will be more forgiving if your nervousness shows up later on. More importantly you will feel more relaxed now that they are not expecting a world-class presentation. Imagine their surprise when you gave them the best presentation ever despite your nervousness.
The best way to do this is by joking about it. Here’s an example of a good one. “On the way here, only God and I knew what I will be presenting. (looking a bit nervous) Now, only God knows.”
2) Redefine your audience
Redefine your audience generally means changing how you see your audience. Instead of seeing them as lecturers who are evaluating you, maybe you can convince yourself that they are all fellow students who are in queue to present after you. They are all equally nervous so there is no reason why you should be too.
Or perceive them as long lost friends that you haven’t seen for 10 years. This way you can maintain eye contact trying to figure out where you have seen him before. To the audiences, they will see a very friendly and personal presentation.
Do not try to convince yourself that they are babies in diapers or that nobody is around as suggested by some books. It is very hard to convince yourself that no one is around when you are actually speaking to them.