There are many reasons so many people are terrified to speak in front of large groups of people. It can be daunting, and many of us have had bad experiences in the past, probably when we were kids. We can hold on to any experience we’ve had, and every time we go to speak, we may remember this “feeling state.” It is the recollection of this state that causes the fear we feel when speaking in front of crowds.
An important part of public speaking is interacting with your audience. Many people focus only on the writing of the speech, but fail to consider the delivery. One very important part of delivering your speech is your one on one connection with your audience. By practicing connecting to audience members you can help remove your fear of public speaking.
Much of the fear comes from the unknown, and not knowing everyone in your audience can bring up some stress or fear. To help overcome this, practice giving your speech in front of friends, family or co-workers and getting a positive response. The more times you practice initially the easier it will be to give your speech when the real day comes.
Practice connecting to one individual at a time. Some people feel uncomfortable with giving eye contact directly to those in the audience, but the more you practice looking someone in the eye, the easier it becomes. Even if you are far away from them, the audience will feel that personal connection, and will continue to pay attention. Make sure you do not just look at the front row but speak to all of the rows of people, even those in the back.
Anyone who may be focused on too much can feel on the spot, but saying a few sentences to each person can make the whole audience part of the experience. Here are a few other things to consider when you are giving your speech.
Interruptions can happen during any speech. There could be crying babies, movement in and out of the room, or cell phones that may go off. Preparing for any interruptions that may occur can remove this stress. Do not stop your talk for any reason. By acting unphased by these possible distractions, your audience will remain focused on the speech as well.
Also, be aware of your body language. It’s easy when nervous to have a stiff body or awkward gestures. Practice saying your speech in front of a mirror so that you can see what gestures you normally do, and how you can make your body look even more relaxed the whole time you are delivering your speech.
When it comes to the day of the speech, remember to stick to the flow of your speech and it will all go smoothly. Do your best to stay in the moment at all times. Do not get lost in your thoughts or in any worries you might have. Focus on your points, and sticking to your script, and your speech will be a success.