Do you get anxious when you have to speak publicly? It’s okay if you do, there’s nothing wrong with that. You don’t even have to worry about being the only one because roughly three-quarters of the population share that same fear.
But it can be hard having that fear because it attacks your self-esteem. It’s also especially hard if you work somewhere that demands a lot of business presentations or if you’re a student who still needs to do class reports. The good news is, like any other fear, you can overcome it.
How To Overcome Presentation Fear
In this article, I’m going to show you how to overcome presentation fear and anxiety. In other words, you’ll learn how to get over fear of public speaking.
Tip #1: Identify The Root Of Your Fear And Work On It
Although many people share the fear of public speaking, it’s not exactly the same for everyone. Every person experiences the same fear differently.
It’s incredibly important that you know how it is for you because the first step to overcoming your fear of public speaking is knowing what exactly is making you anxious about public speaking.
This is the time to really look into yourself and ask what bothers you about public speaking. What’s making you anxious? Once you find the root of your fear, only then can you properly look for ways to overcome it.
Remember, identifying the problem is always the first step to finding the solution. Sure, you could’ve just searched for ways to overcome fear of public speaking or something like that.
Maybe you would’ve even found some useful tips and tricks, like breathing exercises and practicing your presentation like crazy.
But if you really want to overcome your fear, you have to understand that you have to work on it from the inside out. And the only way you could do that is if you knew what to work on in the first place.
Tip #2: Practice Some Healthy Coping Mechanisms
As I mentioned above, if you simply searched for ways to overcome fear of public speaking, you can still find some useful tips and tricks like breathing exercises.
These are helpful if you’re feeling anxious because of an upcoming presentation.
Deep, even breathing is one of the simplest ways to calm yourself down whenever you feel that you’re starting to panic.
You should also look into mindfulness. It’s a psychology term that means being more attuned to the present. Whenever we’re anxious or afraid, what we’re doing is imagining the worst case scenarios.
And I feel that whatever the root of your public speaking fear is, it manifests itself through your mind going into overdrive just thinking of all the bad things that could happen.
To stop yourself from getting anxious, you should try practicing mindfulness.
There are a lot of ways to be more mindful, like meditating or doing yoga or having a mantra among other things.
Any activity or practice or even thought that helps you bring yourself back to the present will do, as long as it works for you.
Tip #3: Practice Your Speech
A lot of people’s fear of public speaking actually stems from being afraid of messing up. Whenever you practice your presentation or speech, you give yourself the opportunity to review your piece.
You can see parts of your presentation that might be confusing to your audience, or parts of your presentation that you realize you don’t particularly know much about, etc.
You give yourself the chance to go over your weak spots and find ways to strengthen them before other people point it out.
Save yourself some stress by anticipating where you might mess up and taking precautionary measures so that you don’t.
Tip #4: Speak In Public
I know it sounds crazy. How could speaking in public help you overcome your fear of speaking in public? Have you ever heard of exposure therapy? It’s a behavioral practice that doctors use to help people get over their fears.
It’s based on the idea that avoiding what you’re afraid of to reduce feelings of fear is a short-term solution, and can actually end up harming you in the long run by making your fear worse.
So what they do is they gradually expose the individuals to the cause of their fear in a safe environment.
This helps the individuals affirm that there is no reason for their fear, and makes it easier for them to manage it.
This tip is essentially the same as exposure therapy. You’re afraid of speaking in public, so to overcome that, speak in public more often!
But the key for this to work is to expose yourself gradually and in a safe environment. Start out small. Present something or give a speech in front of people you trust, maybe your family or friends.
Once you become comfortable with that, gather a larger audience for your presentation. Let yourself face your fear at your own pace.
There’s no need to rush yourself because what you want to do is to gain positive experiences with public speaking.
Only move up a tier when you feel that you’re ready, so you don’t accidentally undo all the progress you’ve achieved.
Tip #5: Adopt A Healthy Mindset
You can’t be doing all these things to overcome your fear of public speaking but still carry on with a defeatist attitude.
You have to believe in yourself:
- Believe that you’re going to make it, that you’re going to overcome your fear.
- Believe that having the fear in the first place does not make you a failure.
- Believe that how a presentation turns out – whether you did well or not – is not an indicator of your worth as a person.
If you’re having a hard time believing yourself, fake it till you make it! Just tell yourself that you believe in you even if it’s not yet true. Just wait and see. Eventually, you’ll come to believe in yourself.
Are You Ready To Overcome Your Presentation Fear?
There is nothing wrong with having a fear of public speaking. It’s a natural and understandable fear. But, as with any other fear, you can’t let it run your life. You have to take action to overcome it. It won’t be easy, and it might take some time, but the rewards of having overcome that fear will certainly be worth all the hard work you put into it.