5 Cheat Codes for the Reluctant Public Speaker
Queasiness in the tummy, faintness, elevating BP, difficulty in speech….Symptoms of a stroke? No, rather, those of a very common phobia, Stage Fright. If you find yourself freezing up everytime you step on stage, you might want to give the following a try.
1) Use the Mirror
Mirror, mirror, on the wall, is not only to tell you who the fairest of them all is, but also to help you prep for the feat on stage. Prepare your speech well ahead, and in front of a mirror, practice your delivery, constantly keeping tabs on your tone, hand gestures, posture and expressions. You can be certain of the fact that your mirror image is a more stringent observer than your audience will ever be, as you know your flaws better than anyone. So keep practising till your own reflection gives you a thumbs-up!
2) Carry your Matter
This little loophole is not required if you’re absolutely confident about your matter. But, if you have the slightest apprehension of blanking out on stage, it’s best to carry cue cards or a sheet containing the important points. If you want to write out the entire speech, you can do that too, as long as you pen it in a clear, legible hand, to avoid misreading the content.
3) Faces in the Crowd
As much as you’d like to stare straight at the blank wall in front of you in an attempt to recollect every word of your speech, a very crucial aspect of effective public speaking is maintaining a good rapport with the audience. Regardless of how hilarious your speech is, if you refrain from making eye contact with the crowd, your delivery is less likely to be impactful. To deal with this, find a sprinkling of amiable faces, scattered across, ensuring that you cover the room from one end, all the way to the other. In the course of your presentation, alternate your gaze between these chosen friendlies, giving them the impression that you’re addressing them personally. The result, is that everybody feels special, and you get to go home with pats on your back for a speech well delivered!
4) Use your Imagination
If you’re one of those with a vivid mind and a fear of large numbers of your own kind, use your strength to trump your weakness! Imagine your fellow Homo sapiens to be anything but; perhaps a tower of indolent giraffes, a bunch of elves, or your favorite food! It’s a pardonable lapse in maturity, and usually gets the work done!
5) Fake It till You Make It
Be confident; even if you don’t feel it, appear to be. Your insecurities are not conspicuous to the people around you till you behave uncertainly. People can’t read your thoughts and fears, but they can judge you on the basis of how you carry yourself. Compose yourself, walk onto the stage with an easy stride, and smile at the audience. Relax! The best speakers in the world make mistakes, so give yourself a breather and do your best; that’s all you can do and that’s all you need to.
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