Overcoming the fear of public speaking

Onyinye Anyakee Written by Onyinye Anyakee · 2 min read >

What is a presentation and why Is it important in business?

A Presentation conveys information from a speaker to the audience. It is a set of ideas spoken to an audience. Presentations are prepared for using resource materials and communicated via supporting materials such as slides.

Millions of presentations are done daily. Managers often have to justify ideas in business settings or simply make a presentation to inform sub ordinates or superiors about happenings. However, persuasive presentations are more common in business than informative presentations.

I will be highlighting the one of the obstacles to effective persuasive presentations and how to overcome it

Fear of speaking

Fear of public speaking is one of the most common phobias known to man. It is referred to as Glossophobia, in medical terms. Communication apprehension, the fear of public speaking affects both novice and experienced speakers. The nervousness that is associated with public speaking is not necessarily bad. It keeps us on our toes and helps us prepare well for presentations.

There are common causes of Communication apprehension which include:

• The Situation
• The Audience
• The Speaker’s Goals.

The Situation

This cause addresses the set of circumstances of the presentation. It takes into consideration, the location and surroundings where the presentation is taking place. Also, the number of people in the room. An example is speaking to a large number of people.

The Audience

The Audience is the group of people that are listening to the speaker. An example is a manager presenting to the board of directors.

The Speaker’s Goals

This is what the speaker intends to achieve from the presentation. An example is a manager’s presentation to the CEO asking for a change in the company policy.

Some of the strategies that help a speaker cope with communication apprehension include:
• Welcoming Anxiety

Like previously stated, anxiety is not always a bad feeling. Learning to not ignore how to feel will help you cope with communication apprehension. Also, having an anxiety management plan where you describe how you intend to manage the anxiety is highly recommended.

• Reframing

Reframing communication apprehension is changing the way you think about the situation. For example, you can believe that you are anxious about addressing your audience because they are interested in the topic you have selected.

• Positive Self-Talk

Positive self talk can lift your mood generally before a presentation. Remind yourself of how much work you have put in the preparation and include reasons why you are sure you will excel. For example, tell yourself how confident and smart you are.

• You can stay in the Present

Fear can come from the thought of failing woefully at the presentation before it even begins. Staying in the moment and focusing on what you can control is a great coping mechanism. Focus on your taking deep breaths, do exercises such as running on stairs. Also, practice meditation, counting backwards and relaxing.

• Writing Thoughts and Feelings

Expressing your thoughts and feelings in writing makes it real. You can go through it and determine which of your concerns are baseless and also those that are real. Write your most minute to the greatest fear. You can write down positives about the presentation you will give. For example, you might say that you are grateful to have a chance to talk about a topic that’s important to you.

Regardless of the content of the writing, it is most effective when you do it regularly. You also can record your thoughts and feelings after a presentation, creating a baseline for your speaking experience grounded in reality.

• Instruction and Practice

Regular practice before the main presentation will make you better at presenting. It is easy to avoid presenting because of anxiety but it has the opposite effect. Rehearsing with a friend before the presentation will produce better results.

Also watching the video of your presentation will show you areas you need to improve on.
instruction and practice can help build confidence and be conducive to other ways of reducing communication apprehension

• Visualization

Visualization can also build self-confidence. It involves making a movie in your head of a successful presentation. Visualization helps only when you imagine the entire performance, not a single scene from it, and for several days in a row prior to speaking.

In conclusion, surveys show that public speaking is one of people’s greatest fear. Communication apprehension can have long-term consequences. Individuals who suffer from it can dodge opportunities to speak and improve. Sadly, research has shown that communication apprehension reduces academic performance, limits career choices, spoils job interviews, and erodes satisfaction with work.


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