Approximately 74 percent of the world suffers from speech anxiety and it remains the number one human fear– it’s even higher than death, sickness, heights or financial problems.
One of the top reasons speakers struggle with public speaking anxiety, also known as stage fright, is self-consciousness in front of large groups and audiences. It is very common for individuals to feel comfortable with small groups, but as the audience increases in size so do negative feelings associated with speaking in front of them.
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Some of the most common symptoms of public speaking anxiety are:
- Voice shaking, mumbling and stuttering
- Forgetting what you are going to say
- Speaking for too long or too short
- Profuse sweating or poor body language
These arise from the most common fears around failure during a presentation including:
- Experiencing technical issues
- Having hecklers in the audience
- Audience is unengaged and bored
- Audience misses your point and doesn’t enjoy your presentation
- People judging you and/or thinking you are unqualified
- Someone asks a question during Q&A that you can’t answer
Fear of Public Speaking
While the fear of public speaking is common, it can also impede your career development. Most professions require some form of public speaking and presentation ability. This may come up as leading a meeting, speaking at a conference, accepting an award or pitching an idea/product to an investor, client, or manager.
When fear or anxiety play a large role in your presentations, they can prevent you from sharing your ideas and expressing your personality. This hinders your ability to speak up in meetings, keeps you from networking and it limits your ability to teach, influence, and motivate.
Successful Presentation Tips
Successful presentations don’t happen by accident. They are the result of planning, practice and structure. This includes structuring your thoughts, focusing on your performing skills and re-purposing your nervousness into positive energy.
Our tips for becoming The Skilled Presenter™:
- Clarify the rules of the gathering
- Involve your audience to break barriers
- Vary your voice dynamic
- Tell stories
- Make facts memorable
- Lighten up with laughter
- Use gestures with purpose
- Slow down and plan your presentation using a three-part structure
- Speak with clarity, brevity and impact®
“The more you present, the less nervous you become.”
We spoke with two young professionals about living with severe public speaking phobia. One young woman’s advice is to have an open discourse with your audience, slow down and over prepare for the presentation.
Engage Your Audience
We’ve been helping professionals engage their audiences and present with impact whether online or in-person – without the nerves. You have the power to present with poise; it comes down to patience, practice and proficiency.
The Skilled Presenter™ virtual instructor led training will equip you with tips, tools and structures to reduce the symptoms of stage fright so you can provide your audience with clear, memorable messages.
Want more tips for communicating like a leader? Read our blog: 3 Story-Telling Tips Successful Leaders Must Know
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