What is public speaking
Public speaking is an act of speaking to a group of people with an intention of informing them regarding any agenda.This is basically a one sided conversation where one person of an established platform (for instance, CEO of any company or principal of any school ) spreads the information to the people (for example, employees of any company or students and teachers of a school), if that information concerns everyone.
When i speak of public speaking, one can imagine Martin Luther King Jr. presenting his famous speech ‘I have a dream’. Just look around and you will definitely find an old and aged man , sitting on a bench in the park with a stick in his hands and speaking to a bunch of people about his days of yore. That’s usually a one sided conversation. Public speaking, so to say, is a one way conversation where a single figure speaks to the crowd that is listening to that one person. That one person is either sharing her or his own views about any agenda or empowering the crowd with powerful and effective words and expressions. Then what’s the difference between public speaking and talking to the crowd? The difference lies in the way the information is conveyed.
What actually is the fear of public speaking?
For some people, public speaking is an opportunity to build a strong identity and shine under the spotlight on the other side for some people, it seems intimidating, spine chilling and to some extent fearsome as well. Just imagine, you are invited to present your ideas in a room full of people. You’ve got influential and powerful ideas in the box that’s in your head but you see at the people as thousands of zombies waiting for your words to be served and rip your flesh apart. Well that’s when your fear overpowers your influential ideas. This fear of public speaking, also known as “glossophobia” where you find death an easy escape, could be hurting your professional and personal life. Whether you have to persuade your mom to let you out on a trip with your friends or to ask your boss for a promotion, you need to speak out and speaking skill is the key to move ahead towards achievement. A little bit of anxiety is understandable, your palm gets sweaty, your legs start trembling but this reflects a weak persona of the speaker. You need to be calm and steady to be able to engage the audience.
How to overcome the fear of public speaking
There would be some past events that creates the anxiety inside and disturbs your flow of ideas. This disturbance is clearly reflected in your speech. What anxious speakers usually does is whether skip their portion of speech or pretend as if they have sore throat. Some of them doesn’t wear their glasses to avoid contact with the audience. Well this is the wrong way of overcoming the fear of public speaking. You are not delivering a speech then, you are just telling yourself that ‘this will be over soon’.this way, you are not working for improvement but just the opposite. Don’t be the ‘unspeaker’. Embrace and accept your fear and focus more on your speech rather than on the anxiety. So let’s get to know what actually is the right way of overcoming glossophobia.
Tips to overcome your fear
- Practice in front of an audience: when you practice alone, you might not know what mistakes you are making. Practicing your part in front for a group of people will lead you to know where your expressions lack the effectiveness. Not only detecting mistakes, but peaking in front of people will make you learn how actually you have to present it in front of the audience and how you will feel then. This way you can prepare yourself before actually presenting your speech in the room full of ‘kids’.
- Express yourself truly : I once attended a seminar where the speaker was so frank with the audience that she even talked about how she was feeling standing in front of the audience on the podium. And the whole audience know she was being anxious. But the speech that she delivered then was strikingly impressive. So being frank about your feelings with the audience can sometimes lessens the distance between the speaker and the listener. If you get away with the anxiety that’s wandering in your mind, throbbing your heart extremely fast, you can get away with this feeling in the very beginning of your speech.
- Know your mirror self: do you even know what you’re talking about? Do you understand the words you are speaking out? I sometimes wonder if we are aware of our own outer image that the audience is introduced to? Look in the mirror and ask yourself if, you know what you uttering, verbalising. Do you understand your own word and expressions? If yes, then only you are able to persuade and make understand the audience your unique ideas.
- Don’t be mechanical : If you want your ideas to be accepted by the audience with satisfaction, their “willing suspension” to your ideology will only be possible if you create your speech in an creative and interesting way.a mechanical reading of the script will only lead the audience to fall asleep. Once, in a workshop, a speaker had given his speech on the topic travelogy, the most adventurous writeup. But the speaker tried every way to make it as boring as sleepy for the audience that the listener only lended their ears in the session of question and answers. Try to make your speech as interesting as possible. You can make it involving even just through your gestures.
- Start with a question: If you are confused how you should begin your speech and where to start, then ask the audience involvement at the very beginning. Ask them questions about the topic that you are presenting and let them create the path for your further points to talk about. This way you can link your ideas to one another and end your speech with a satisfactory note.
- Interact with the audience: Your interaction with the audience will let you know how much the listener knows about the topic and how much they expect from you to talk about it. Of course the question answer session is for the interaction but a constant conversation with the people in an informal way will let you to be more expressive and make you less fearful of the nervous atmosphere that your mind has created. Also if the audience has any part in the conversation then you will not feel like you are the centre of the spotlight and that every eye is stuck at you.
- Pick the subject that interests you as well: “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” said Albert Einstein. Its true. If you don’t the subject understand yourself , how are you going to make people understand it? And this lack of understanding on the speakers side creates trouble for the speaker sometimes. So if you think of being clear and confident about the subject you are going to present, make sure that you understand it yourself first. And talking about the topic you are interested in will clear your path already as you will be happy and excited while delivering the speech and even though unconsciously, you will make it interesting for the audience.
- Ppt or notepad to remind you of your points: prepare notes or a powerpoint presentation to keep you in track of your thoughts.sometimes you might forget the point that you want to link in the train of your thoughts. That’s where the PPT plays a helping hand to remind you of your next point.
- Do it: until and unless you speak, it’s no way possible to overcome this fear. Put your thoughts in front of your family and friends. Make them understand of what you think. It would be frightening initially, but after three or four speeches you present, you will be the one who seek public speaking as a great opportunity to mark your identity, nor as someone who escapes reality out of fear.
Why should you enhance your speaking skills?
The ability to speak skillfully is the capacity to put words together in a meaningful way to reflect thoughts, opinions and feelings. It is said that a picture is worth thousand words but those words no doubt will come in handy if the picture is poorly interpreted. Speaking skill is clearly an important method of communication. Great leaders, politicians, philosophers, revolutionists, educators, lawyers seek to develop their speaking skills to be able to persuade, influence and most importantly inform the audience. A well delivered speech, with well chosen words gains the attention of the audience. Ever thought what would have happened of Rome if Mark Antony would not have been a good orator?
Your being able to versify your thoughts effectively positions you out and above from the rest. A well developed verbal skill improves self confidence. It not only enhances your career opportunities but also you find a deep level of fulfillment after you experience a connection with an appreciative audience through a well-composed and well-delivered presentation.
The question arises why someone should work on their speaking skills if they don’t want to be the sole speaker in the crowd, standing on the podium, empowering people. The idea is that public speaking is the macrocosm of our small talks in cafeteria. The difference lies only in the way we converse. So one has to be conscious of their words not only when they are asked to present a speech but also to communicate and justify their existence through verbalizing their thoughts in a day to day conversation. There comes the role of speaking skill. While you are speaking, your speech represents your point of view, your judgment, your way of thinking, and your identity.
For speaking effectively, including the words that make sense in your speech, first you need to listen. Listen to what people around you say, listen to what your mind says and assimilate what you think is true and then vocalize your point of view. The process helps in developing good conversational artistry.
As we have already talked about, a good oratory skill reflects your identity. If not trying to be the Martin Luther King Jr., your speech represents what you truly are. If not revolutionary, your speech affects the masses if delivered with mastery. So pubic speaking is not just talking about topics of national concern where the speaker is considered to be the intellectual and is expected to present a life changing and morale boosting eloquent and
articulated speech but it can be as general as the old man talking to a bunch of people in the park. Yes it is good to be concerned about your speech but being anxious about it for the whole week before it and while your presentation; you are just over thinking and burdening the box on your head. After all, the reality is that the audience in the room is just kids in their underpants seeking some knowledge from your brilliant mind.
There is no need of being insecure of your speech. Deliver your thoughts to the people around you as clearly as possible and skillfully uphold to your personality as “a man speaking to men”.