Overcoming My Fear of Public Speaking
Hey everyone! Recently, I was asked to give a speech. This speech was set during an important lunch that was part of a bigger, organization-wide conference. The lunch was held in a rather large event room that held many more people than I originally anticipated. Anyone who knows me knows that public speaking is one of my biggest anxieties. I don’t even like speaking up in small groups; but you know what? I did it! I got up on that stage, stood at that podium, and made my speech. Today, I want to share a few tips on dealing with anxieties and how to stop them from holding you back. My first tip is to be willing to push the boundaries of your comfort zone just a bit. You don’t have to push too much, even the smallest step out of your comfort zone will make a difference. Even though I was really reluctant at first, I have found that the more I speak in public, the less anxiety inducing and more comfortable it becomes. Another tip that has come in handy for me in reducing my public speaking anxiety is practicing as much as possible beforehand. I must have practiced giving my speech a dozen times in the days before the lunch took place and even on the day of the lunch, I took time to read through it a few more times. This made me feel much more comfortable and when I delivered the speech, the words sounded much more natural since I was very familiar with them. My final tip is to just do your best. When I got up to that podium, I was shaking and so nervous. The whole time I was giving my speech I had to keep looking at the paper that contained my typed out speech because every time I looked up from it, I felt that I would lose my place and my train of thought. I began to feel like people could see how nervous I felt inside and that made me even more nervous and prone to messing up. However, after the lunch, I had so many people coming up to me congratulating me and telling me how wonderful my speech was and how well I presented it. No one realized how nervous I really was and I didn’t mess up nearly as much as my anxiety led me to believe that I did. We are our own worst critic and many times are doing much better than we think. However, making mistakes and even failing at times are all part of the learning process. Each mistake or time that we feel we have failed is an opportunity to learn a new bit of information or a new way of doing things. Putting yourself out there can be extremely scary but it can open so many doors. Each time you put yourself out there, you open up the possibility of new relationships and new opportunities.