Are you deathly afraid of public speaking? You are in the majority; most people feel the same. Public speaking is the number one fear reported by people in the United States. Extreme anxiety can strike at any time you have to communicate your ideas to other people. You may be afraid that they will reject your ideas, or be bored by your presentation.
You can reduce some of your anxieties if you are very well prepared. Write out your speech completely so you have a guide to follow. Use a highlighter to mark the key points of your presentation. This guide will help you stay focused. Visual aides like power point slide shows or flip charts can help you stay on course while giving your audience a place to focus instead of staring at you. It also helps to practice in front of a mirror or with a friend who can help you tune up your speech so you know it from top to bottom.
Keep in mind that your audience is not really there to see you; they are there to get the information you have to offer. Remembering that it’s not about you is a great stress reducer. Your goal at seminars is not to sell your products or services, it is to impart practical information that your audience can use; the sales will come later.
Remember that when you are sharing your ideas in front of an audience, you are the expert. What you have to say is more important than how you say it. Each time you have to stand up in front of people, it will be easier; in time, you will wonder why you had so many challenges in the first place. The old adage that “practice makes perfect” is as true in public speaking as in any other endeavor.