Overcoming the Fear of Public speaking

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Communication is the cornerstone of our society. While there are countless variations of communication, some are more valuable than others. In today's technology driven world, where much of our communication is done from behind a screen, it is crucial to set yourself apart. One of the most powerful forms of communication is public speaking. Public speaking is key to success. It can allow you to spread your message and reach countless people at one time. Great public speaking can set you apart from the crowd and be a channel through which you become someone's inspiration.

Quality public speaking is a great skill to acquire and it can boost you forward in your career. However, it does go both ways and the fear of public speaking can without a doubt hold you back. The fear of public speaking can impair things like college graduation, wages, and promotion to management. This fear is called glossophobia, or speech anxiety and it is the most common fear people have across the globe. But fret not, although great public speaking is something that some people are naturally equipped with it can be learned! The first key to overcoming the fear of public speaking is understanding it.

The fear of public speaking, or stage fright is a physiological reaction. It occurs when our body is presented with a stimulus (public speaking) and the response is fear or excitement, sometimes both. This triggers adrenaline. In short,stage fright is the result of one of our most primitive reactions, the flight or fight response.

Stage fright comes with many symptoms. Being able to identify them and why they occur is part overcoming the fear of public speaking. Stomach pain, shaking, trembling, vomiting and shortness of breath are some common systems of people experiencing stage fright. These symptoms are a result of the adrenaline that your body produces as a response to the stimulus.

Practice and preparation is a large component of overcoming your fear. Being confident in your knowledge of the topic can greatly decrease your fear. Repetitive practicing in the correct ways is vital to a successful presentation. It is important to dedicate a substantial amount of time to practicing your presentation. Some practice techniques are presenting out loud, presenting standing up, practicing in front of a mirror, timing your presentation, practice in the clothes you will be wearing, and visualizing your success. Most successful, influential presenters say that memorizing your material isn't usually the way to go, but that internalizing your information is a better tactic.

There are many tips and tricks to overcome glossophobia and it is beneficial for everyone to scour through them all and establish which tricks work best for them. It is also important to remember that almost everyone has at least some level of speech anxiety. Understanding your fear of public speaking is what will allow you to overcome it. It will take time and practice but if you persevere you can overcome your fear and become a successful public speaker.

Written by Jessica Marvin, 2017-2018 State President

Maurice S. Henderson