How to Overcome your Fear of Public Speaking

It is estimated that three out of four people suffer from glossophobia which is the fear of public speaking. So if the idea of speaking in front of an audience gives you shivers, it is not the end of the world. Here is how you can sound and look confident while giving a presentation even though you’re extremely anxious on the inside:

Step 1: Prepare
Shift from focusing on how you will deliver your presentation and focus on what you will deliver. Do your thorough research on time as it is easier talking about something you know rather than something you do not know. Your audience will notice when you have not prepared your speech and their reaction, which may be their undesirable non-verbal communication, may make you even more anxious.

Step 2: Calm yourself
Glossophobia may be stimulated by the thought of having to stand in front of an audience or by the act of speaking itself. “On the day of the presentation (when the jitters kick in), it is always helpful to calm and centre yourself. Be it listening to music, deep breathing … or whatever works for you”, advises Khanya Mbikwana, the Nelson Mandela University’s Gaveliers Club President 2018.

Step 3: Own your stage
“As nervous as you may be, your audience must know that the stage is yours” says Lwandile Yalezo, a Gaveliers Club member. You can achieve this relaxing your body and not standing in one place when presenting. You are also advised to include jokes and tell relevant personal stories as this will not only make you engage with your audience but may decrease your anxiety.

Step 4: Practice
The more experience you get, the more confidence you’ll gain. Public speaking can be a skill that needs to be done often for you to see improvement. In addition, you can join your fellow public speakers to practice impromptu and prepared speeches at the South Campus education building every Thursday evening from 5pm to 7pm.

You would be surprised!

Photographer: Bianke Fouche

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