5 Ways to Overcome a Fear of Speaking in Public
Public speaking is something nearly every student dreads. Every high school and college student will have to do some public speaking both in and outside of the classroom so it’s something that students should become comfortable with sooner rather than later. One of the reasons teachers put students through this torture is because they will need these skills later on in their career. In fact, a great orator is more likely to be able to persuade their audience and perhaps even advance further in their profession. Although every public speaker feels nervous, there are some excellent ways to overcome this fear of public speaking and win over the audience.
1. Start with a small group setting
School assignments are categorized into a small group setting and a larger setting. Speaking in front of an entire auditorium of people tends to be a lot more difficult than speaking in front of three or four people. Students are encouraged to start out in a small group setting where they can more easily connect with their audience and determine if the audience is getting bored and they need to move on from a topic or if people are confused, and they need to slow down. A small group setting will also allow audience members to give constructive feedback that will help the presenter engage more in the future.
2. Practice connecting with the audience
One of the best ways to make a public speaking engagement successful is to engage with the audience truly. If they are interested in what the speaker is saying they will be more easily persuaded towards the argument or come up with interesting questions that can make the presentation better overall. When students start out they may not be able to make eye contact with the audience but, as they get more comfortable with the situation, they can connect with one or several members of the audience at a time perhaps even making them part of the presentation itself (READ: 5 Tips to Ace Your School Presentation).
3. Be 100% prepared
A surefire way to make any public speaking engagement better is to be 100% prepared and knowledgeable when it comes to knowing the material. Students should be able to answer any number of questions and know a lot more about the subject matter than just what they are directly presenting on. Audiences, and teachers can easily tell when a presenter doesn’t truly know their stuff so preparation is the key to an excellent public speaking assignment.
4. Don’t worry if there’s a bump in the road
It is easier said than done to tell a student not to worry if something goes wrong during their presentation. However, the reality is that, at some point, something won’t work. Either a Power Point slide will fail, or an audience member will be rude. It’s important for the speaker to be able to take it in stride and either fix the situation or move on. Public speaking assignments truly fail when the presenter gets totally thrown off balance by a disruption and can’t get back on track. If there’s a little bump in the road, no sweat just keep going.
5. Practice makes perfect
At the end of the day, practice makes perfect when it comes to being an excellent presenter. Speaking in front of a small or large audience can be difficult for many people, and their first few assignments might be a little bit tough. However, over time speaking in public will become second nature and, hopefully, students will develop this essential skill in time to apply it to their career.
Still nervous for your school speech/public speaking event? Talk to your private Los Angeles academic tutor for tips.
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