There are several reasons why I panic when delivering a public speech. One of them is because I am afraid of criticism for what I will say since sometimes, I might not be very sure on whether the information that I will present before the audience is factual, logical, supported by evidence or not. This creates fear in me on the assumption that people will judge me for the things I have said (Griffin 12-18). As a result of this, I may feel uneasy since the thought of people challenging my presentation may create mental imbalance, thereby hindering my focus on the subject that is being discussed. This is likely to create an idea of unconsciousness such that when I stand at the stage or before many people, the unconscious thoughts may keep showing up, thereby causing me to lose focus on the topic or the presentation. At the same time, if I was to present a topic that I am not well versed with or a topic that was thoroughly researched, fear may arise since I keep thinking of the possible questions and comments that may be raised by the audience. I might get worried when asked to make a clarification on some of the facts or when told to argue out a fact. Presentation requires one to know what has been written in advance and in case I forget the meaning of a particular sentence or it occurs that I wrote a wrong one, it should be corrected on time. This would even stress me more than having not started the discussion since the audience may possibly not approve of the speech that I am making. They may in turn, laugh at me, ridicule me or even storm out of the presentation hall. This might impact great distress and fear. All these thoughts are likely to impact my presentation and may instill fear of the reaction of the audiences in the process and after my presentation.
How to overcome or reduce the public speaking anxiety
It is important to note that even the best speakers in the world at times get some anxiety before getting on stage or whenever they are in a large group of people. This implies that it is logical to develop anxiety before presentation. The fear of public speaking becomes an issue when we emphasize on the mistakes, instead of the speech that is to be presented (Verderber 1-5). This being the case, smart decisions has to be devised before making a presentation, during and after the activity. Certain strategies that can help one in overcoming the anxiety of public speech are discussed below.
One of the strategies that an individual can use in overcoming the stage flight would be setting goals of overcoming stress and anxiety (Grice 6-16). Stage flights, fear and the likes are all perceptions of the mind and if one can make efforts and objectives for overcoming such fear, it can be possible. If in the mind, we create that some subjects are difficulty to handle, the physical attribute of the subject becomes hard, thus, setting goals and living by them on public speaking can help a person in overcoming the fear that comes with the anxiety of standing before a crowd of many people.
If the individual accepted that most of the excellent speakers are anxious before making their presentation, one may accept their states and agree that little anxiety is helpful. Such an idea can help in motivating someone while in front of a crowd knowing that it is normal and common for someone to feel anxious. Besides, it is also important to bear in mind that we have different perspective in life and one may not be a brilliant orator. Because of this, one can try to be comfortable in front of people in order to avoid stage flight from preventing him or her from attaining the set objectives.
It is possible to overcome the fear of standing in front of people and giving a speech. One of the best ways of doing this is through thinking positively (Thomas 1-5). Success is mind borne and if one focuses on the positive aspect of the speech, it may be easier to overcome fear. Although one may not be a perfect speaker, he should convince himself that preparations have been made and that great job is going to be done such that even if issues come up in the course of presentation, one will be composed and carry on (Sellnow 38).
Preparations and focusing on the message as well as the audience may help in instilling courage as one prepares and presents the speech. Knowing the message’s content by conducting thorough research on the subject will help in making a good speech and reducing anxiety. If the message is thoroughly researched on, it is likely that the presentation will be smooth and might reduce fear.
Because of this, it is important that before presentation, one should prepare in order to familiarize with the topic of the subject (Coopman 6-9). Knowing the audience in advance will also assist in the psychological preparation of what is to be expected. Before making a presentation, it is important to relax so as to tense up the muscles. One should visualize in the mind, a well received presentation by the audience. In the course of presentation, one should focus on the audience through making contacts and possibly, engage the audience in the presentation (Morreale 1-25). These are some of the strategies that can be used in making a speech interesting and reducing anxiety as well as stage flight episodes.
Coopman, Stephanie J., and James Lull. Public Speaking: The Evolving Art: The Evolving Art. Cengage Learning, 2007.
Griffin, Cindy. Invitation to public speaking. Cengage Learning, 2011.
Grice GL, Skinner JF. Mastering Public Speaking. 5th ed. Boston: Allyn & Bacon; 2004.
Morreale, Sherwyn P., Brian H. Spitzberg, and J. Kevin Barge. Human communication: Motivation, knowledge, and skills. Cengage Learning, 2007.
Morreale, Sherwyn P., Michael M. Osborn, and Judy C. Pearson. “Why communication is important: A rationale for the centrality of the study of communication.” JACA-ANNANDALE- 1 (2000): 1-25.
Sellnow, Deanna. Confident public speaking. Cengage Learning, 2004.
Thomas, Todd. Face the Fear: Overcoming Public Speaking Anxiety. Lulu. com, 2009.
Verderber, Rudolph, Kathleen Verderber, and Deanna Sellnow. The challenge of effective speaking. Cengage Learning, 2011.