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How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking

College is designed to challenge the mind, spirit, and body. You will endure life-changing experiences and beneficial tips used for a lifetime while in college.  One of the most prominent activities that you will find yourself engaging in is public speaking. For some, public speaking comes with ease while others may struggle. However, I was someone who was terrified of public speaking. “What if I mess up? What if I embarrass myself? What if I can’t remember all my words?” are the thoughts that constantly ran through my mind. Due to public speaking being a necessity in one’s lifetime, here are some tips for those who have doubts or fears when speaking in front of others.

1. Practice in front of family or friends

The easiest way for me to overcome my fear of public speaking was to practice in front of those that are close to me. I found that this was the most effective simplest way to practice, because not only will you be given constructive criticism, you will also subconsciously practice how you will actually perform your speech to others. This method gives you a preview to how well you can keep your composure and share a preview of your personality. Although you will be more comfortable with people that are close to you, this is still allowing you to share your thoughts with someone other than yourself. 

 

2. Repetition

Repeating a speech/lecture over and over in the mirror has also proven to be a great way for me to remember my speech. This method allows you to remember what you wrote down easier and soon you will find your words rolling off your tongue perfectly. Due to you practicing over and over the material will already be encoded in your brain so it’s easier to deliver and improvise if you make mistakes. This also limits the chances of mistakes and awkward pauses when delivering. 

 

3. Find a person or object to focus on when delivering 

Freshmen year I took a communications class that primarily focused on public speaking. Of course I was terrified when it was my turn to deliver, but I focused on my professor solely and it helped tremendously. We tend to lose focus when we have too any distractions. Focusing on too many people when delivering can mess you up. I delivered my speech as if I were having a personal conversation with my professor. I was better engaged, felt less judged, and received an ‘A’ on my speech! 

 

4. Great Notecards

Majority of the time you will be allowed to use note cards for referencing while delivering. The best way to utilize notecards for me was to put the topic sentence of each main point and a few details on them. I also made a mini outline so I know which points were connected and this allowed for smoother transactions.

 

Are you feeling more confident now? Take a deep breath and realize that public speaking and social interactions are just a part of life. The sooner you use these tips the better. Don’t be afraid of expressing yourself to others because what you have to say can change a life and make a difference! 

HCXO!

 

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