Jerry Seinfeld once said, ‘According to most studies, people’s number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death’. There is merit to his statement as researchers estimate that 75% of the world’s population experiences glossophobia, otherwise known as the fear of public speaking.
Just because something is common, however, does not mean it is easy to handle. Fortunately, there are ways to overcome this fear of public speaking or speech anxiety.
Look like a Speaker, Feel like a Speaker
Every facet of how a person presents themselves contributes to their overall confidence, which aids against speech anxiety. Aesthetic improvements, such as ones for the teeth and hair, also help speakers feel more confident. Professionals with Cuffley Village Dental Practice confirm this, saying cosmetic treatments like dental implants, for example, can help avoid slurred words due to ill-fitting dentures.
Focus on the Topic, Not the Audience
Public speaking requires more than memorisation as the speaker ought to understand their subject matter to its core. So, when a speaker is an authority on the topic that they are talking about, they can speak more freely and openly about the topic. Remember: the audience can and will detect when the speaker only has shallow knowledge of what they are talking about.
Before speaking before a crowd, it is advisable to conduct in-depth research about the topic and focus on it instead of concentrating on the audience’s reaction. Sometimes, people who suffer from speech anxiety tend to think too much about how the audience will react instead of the subject matter at hand, which leads them to stutter or draw a blank while speaking
Use Visual Anchors
One way to calm anxiety is to use anchors to fixate. This forces the person with anxiety to pay attention to their present reality, instead of future possibilities that trigger the condition. Using visual anchors, therefore, can help speakers who suffer from speech anxiety.
When speakers forget or stumble upon a certain word or transition in their speech, they can latch on to a visual anchor that they brought with them. Sometimes, this is in the form of handheld cue cards, an on-screen presentation, among other methods. This is a good way to make sure that the speaker does not forget anything from their speech and gives the speaker something to hold on to, metaphorically speaking.
Public speaking is a common fear and people should not be ashamed to experience. There are methods to overcome it and deliver a speech successfully.