Glossophobia — better known as the fear of public speaking — is a condition that is believed to affect approximately 75 per cent of the population.
Prior to 2015, speaking in front of a group of people was a terrifying experience for me. Even though I was told that I usually did a good job, I would experience anxiety for several days leading up to each public speaking opportunity.
In 2015, I joined a local Kelowna Toastmasters club. Since then, my stress related to public speaking has reduced, but it’s still normal for me to feel slightly nervous just before I take the stage.
In this month’s column, I’m excited to share three tips to give you a boost of confidence before your next speech.
Tip # 1 – Stand Up in Advance
The simple act of standing up a few minutes before you speak in front of a group of people is a game-changer.
Whether you’re delivering a wedding speech or giving an update at your building’s strata meeting, in most circumstances, you will likely be seated before your opportunity to speak. What I like to do is find a spot at the side or back of the room to stand up about five or 10 minutes before I’m about to take the stage.
Standing up tells your body that it’s time for action; it helps you physically and mentally prepare to deliver your speech.
In almost every instance that I felt I didn’t do a great job of public speaking, the commonality was that I had been seated for an extended period of time beforehand and failed to stand up in advance.
Tip #2 – Have water nearby
As mentioned earlier, public speaking is one of the most common fears that people experience, and our bodies play frustrating tricks on us when we’re put in a position where we’re nervous or scared.
One of the most common body responses to public speaking is getting a dry mouth. The worst part is that it’s not only frustrating for the speaker, but the audience will likely notice — and be distracted by — it as well.
It’s important to have water nearby in case you experience this. If your mouth starts to get dry, pause and take a sip. If you find the right times to strategically hydrate, the audience won’t find it distracting; in fact, many of the world’s top keynote speakers drink plenty of water while on stage.
Tip #3 – Take the stage in advance and visualize
It’s not always possible to be the first one in the room, but if you do have the opportunity, stand on the stage (or at the front of the room) before anyone has arrived and visualize a room full of people.
This tip is one that I try to leverage every time I speak in front of a group of people, and it has made a world of difference for me.
If you’re not able to stand at the front prior to others arriving, try to quickly face the audience at some point before you’re called up to speak. For example, on your way to the washroom, quickly turn back and face the room full of people that you will be speaking in the meeting.
Why? Because by doing this, it takes away that initial daunting feeling of having everyone’s eyes on you, and gives you one less thing to worry about so you can focus on delivering a killer presentation.
If you’re interested in learning more about being an impactful communicator, subscribe to my YouTube channel here.
This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.