Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Fear of Public Speaking

By Dr. Ahmed Adamu

I receive calls and messages from many of my followers and friends disclosing their weaknesses and fear in public speaking, which gravely affect their businesses, social and political endeavours. I gave them many advices which I would like to share few of them with you.

It is natural to have fear for public speaking. The Book of Lists mentioned that, many people fear public speaking more than they fear death. According to the book’s survey, death was ranked seventh in the ranking of the top worst human fears, while public speaking was ranked first worst human fear. So if you fear public speaking, you are certainly not alone, because 3 out of every 5 people have fear for public speaking. What you need to do is know why you have this fear and how to overcome it.

Every person can speak comfortably and effectively at least to his/her peers or juniors, which means they are in person good and effective speakers, it is only a matter of the environment and cognitive perception.

If you are comfortable talking to small group or your juniors or your siblings, then when you are talking to big audience, just imagine that the big audience are exactly the same ones as that of the individual or small group of your juniors or peers. Perception about your audience contribute 90% to your anxiety, which makes you absent from the place. Perceiving your audience as different from your peers or juniors makes you concentrate more on how uncomfortable you feel and how bad you might communicate, which will then distract you from the purpose and content of speech.

Sometimes you will be clouded by the fear of the fear itself. Sometimes you worried that you will look fearful, which makes you to fear that once the audience notices your nervousness, everyone will realise you don’t actually know your topic or you are not a good speaker. So don’t get distracted about what people think about you, but what they think about your message. Don’t get up there to impress anyone or to be better than other speakers or be reckoned as an orator, just go there to communicate a message. So your job is not to be an excellent speaker.

It does not matter how it was presented, but what matter is to get the message across. Assume that your audience know nothing about the topic and you are the only one to inform them about the new knowledge. So, you are there just to pass an information. This then relate to how much you know about the content of the message. That is why it is very good to know deeply and widely around the topic of your speech. Preparation is one of the best way to tackle obstacles of public speaking. Know very well the content of your speech, and prepare some guiding notes.

Practice your speech over and over if you have time, and practice it before your friend or your junior, this will prepare you establish the imagination and comfort that you will assume while presenting the actual speech. Public speaking is a learning process, there have to be times when you will do it badly, you will have to fail in some important speeches, so don’t let the fear of what happened in the past affect you now. Don’t let the past influence your presence. You are meant to improve and learn from your mistakes. The best speakers in the world had their worst moments too. Always dress well and breathe deeply when you come to public speaking. Be at your best possible personal and physical appearance at the moment. And when you come to the Podium, spend some few seconds to engage in some little acts, like touching the Mic, or rearranging your guiding notes, or any little act before you start talking, and then look your audience into the eyes for a second, and then you begin your speech. Try and start your speech with informal jokes or making your audience laugh, but that should be after thanking and recognising the dignitaries present. That makes you relax and create connection between yourself and your audience.


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  2. I don't enjoy public speaking either. It was always a long hard slog--a stoic virtue. It got somewhat easier in time but never completely resolved.So Keep up the wonderful work and if you want more info about this topic then visit here.