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Texas ISD School Guide
Texas ISD School Guide

Writing and Public Speaking

Controlling Your Fear Of Public Speaking
By:Edward Hope

To persuade, a speaker must talk fluently with courage and confidence. When fear or timidity becomes evident, an audience loses confidence in a speaker's ability to persuade. Obviously, if he cannot control himself how can he hope to persuade others?

The fear of public speaking is common to most people around the world. It is very often one of the top three fears of people in surveys. However, stage fright must be learned because people have only two natural fears at birth  the fear of falling and fear of loud noise. As stage fright has been learned it is impossible to control and overcome the anxiety.

The common fears associated with public speaking are

- Fear of the unknown - new situations can be frightening. Remember the first time you were asked on a date or asked for one, or when you first began to drive.

- Fear of rejection - the feeling that the speech may be either criticised behind your back or openly.

- Fear of failure or making a mistake - you may forget part of your speech or mispronounce a word etc

Now we know what the fears are and that they were learned, how do you control them? Here are 8 techniques to use overcoming the anxiety;

1. Emerson's quote "Do the thing you fear and the death of fear is certain" is true. George Bernard Shaw suffered from stage fright and overcame his fear by speaking at every opportunity. Make many short speeches as this is far more helpful in overcoming fear than delivering only a few long ones.

2. Have an attitude that, "I'm giving them my best. I hope that's good enough. At this point I couldn't do better. And if someone is unhappy with my speech, so what? Without worrying a second about any speech I've already delivered I'm going to put all my energy into the next speech."

3. Mentally play down the importance of his speech. Who is going to remember it a hundred years later anyway?

4. Learn to grin at an audience and go right on speaking when you make a mistake, people will forget the mistake and remember the grin. A mistake always looks much bigger in the mind of the person who made it than in anyone else's thinking because he is so near it. Other people are so busy thinking about themselves (and their own mistakes) they won't remember someone else's error long.

5. Talk about something you really know. Something you know from your heart not through memorisation

6. Practice this speech drill either on your own or with someone - Choose a favourite hobby (your most active one.) Tell and show an imaginary audience how to take part in it. Do this with much pep. Put zip, spirit, and sparkle into your tones. Let your feelings show in your face, eyes and body. Overdo it! Feel that people must share your hobby, not tomorrow or next week, but as you talk about it. Do this again and again.

7. Properly prepare and practice your speech - know your subject intimately and practice as often as you can in front of the mirror, in front of friends. If possible run through the speech at the location where you are to give the speech.

8. Visualization. Visualize delivering your speech successfully as often as possible with intensity and passion.

Public speaking anxiety is something that can be overcome by all. It is a skill that is in the reach of anyone. Through a good attitude, practice and preparation it is possible for all to become proficient speakers

Edward Hope is editor and publisher of the recently released ebook "The Art of Great Conversation." To claim your free preview visit www.selfconfiddentspeaking.com.

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