From Fear to Fortitude — Conquering the Fear of Public Speaking
Glossophobia, a term often used in medical terms to describe the fear of public speaking. This is a fear that can affect people, as equivalent to the fear of heights, spiders, darkness, etc.
At the same time, no established speaker too can ever say, that they too don’t experience a few butterflies in their stomach before delivering their speeches.
In my personal opinion, fear is a very natural phenomenon, that can come at us, but what distinguishes confident speakers from fearful ones, is the way in which confident speakers train and hone themselves to deal with that fear.
I would like to share a few tips that I have received after hearing many established speakers & have tried to humbly inculcate them in my speeches to become more resilient in dealing with that fear –
1) Internalize your Speech Content — As Sir Ralph Smedley rightly puts it that ‘An unprepared speaker has the right to be afraid’. This brings me to the first point of how important speech preparation is for a confident delivery on stage. Speech preparation acts as the foundation on which the building of confident speech delivery is built. Therefore, it becomes really crucial to internalize our speech content, by rehearsing our speech delivery with consistent practice & adding necessary emotions to the speech, so that the flow of the speech is smooth, natural and confident on stage.
2) Practice some Deep Breathing before the Speech — This is a tool that can help you during rehearsals and moments before giving the speech. A few deep breathing practices like ‘Pranayama’, can help you calm down, manage your breath, stabilize your emotions before delivering the speech.
3) Build your Content — This brings me to the root cause of the fear of public speaking. On many occasions, our fear arises not because of the presence of a large audience, lack of rehearsals, but rather because of the lack of substantial content to speak. Thus, building your content, by reading good books & listening to good speakers, will provide you with quality words, phrases, vocabulary, which all act as the building blocks of our speech. This is a tool, that can also help us in delivering impromptu speeches.
And lastly, make sure to speak from your heart, and speak with conviction in your message, which will help you to be naturally confident to make your speech a masterpiece!