Public speaking is a universal fear, along with spiders and death. As one who is not a risk-taker, nor an adrenaline junkie, I find it ironic that I’ve chosen a career in public relations—a field that involves an act that is equally as fearful as death itself. Go figure.
I have always wanted to master public speaking. I’ve dreamed of captivating my audience with my eloquent words and charismatic presence. But, how do I cope with my fear?
I’ve researched this topic extensively (read: a few Google searches), and have found three simple techniques to master public speaking:
1. Imagine everyone in their underwear.
It’s simple and downright funny. It releases some of the anxiety inside of you. If you don’t want to picture your boss in their skivvies, imagine yourself in your happy place (mine involves a beach, a tropical climate and a law against public speaking. Kidding…well, partially).
2. Remember to breathe.
You know that essential bodily function? As obvious as it might seem, most people forget to do even the most simple of tasks when they are nervous. Not only will this help you stay alive, but focusing on breathing will take your mind off of your perceived impending doom.
3. Practice in the mirror.
Watching how you deliver speeches is extremely important. You’ll be able to notice how much eye contact you give and what nervous tendencies you exhibit. You may also use this as an opportunity to check yourself out (Oh, hey there good looking! How you doin’?)
I hope these techniques give even the most tongue-tied individuals the help they need to speak publicly. It may be an uphill climb but remember, in the words of Claire Cook: “if plan A doesn’t work out, don’t worry. The alphabet still has 25 letters left!”
Cassie Hunter, Contributor