Perhaps you have heard that a good tactic to reduce anxiety during a public performance is to picture your audience naked. It’s obviously a myth and this strategy doesn’t work. But the fear of public speaking remains very real for a lot of college students. If this issue bothers you and you would like to get rid of butterflies in your stomach during your public speech once and forever, follow the tips listed below.
1. Prepare carefully
There is always going to be some bored student in the audience who will yawn or use their smartphone instead of listening you. Bear in mind that none of their reactions have anything to do with you personally. The more preparations you do beforehand, the better you will feel about your speech. First of all, make your research, choose a topic you are interested in and analyze your audience. Remember to keep your material interesting and simple with a clear beginning, middle and end. If you don’t have a crystal ball, there is no way to foresee every question thrown at you during your presentation. But, you can make logical guesses and formulate possible answers based on the content of your speech.
2. Practice over and over again
The reason why you become so anxious is because you keep imagining the worst-case scenario in your head. The only way to reduce your nervousness is to practice more.
- Rehearse your presentation in front of a mirror to work on you facial expressions and body movements.
- Record your speech on a smartphone from beginning to end, analyze it and make notes to avoid using parasite words, making weird sounds, long gaps or talking too fast for next time.
- Give your speech to your friends or family members to get a real feedback. Be open to criticism and practice replying to your audience’s questions.
- Join a public speaking class in your school or find a group on the internet. For example, Toastmasters International is a non-profit organization that helps college students to get over their fears by giving them opportunity to speak scores of times.
3. Present visual aids
Well prepared PowerPoint slides can make you feel less conspicuous, because your audience will look at the screen more often than at you. That’s not necessarily the case, but you can deceive yourself into believing that. However, don’t overdo your slides putting a lot of information on each of them. Try to focus on representing your material in the best way possible and don’t worry about your audience reactions a lot.
If somebody has made a video of your speech, don’t be lazy, watch it and develop a plan to improve your next performance.
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