Public Speaking Techniques

Many people fear speaking in public. Learn how to overcome this fear with these public speaking techniques.

The act of public speaking could be defined as, "a talk or address, especially one delivered to an audience." Yet, to many people the notion of speaking in public has the effect of rendering one speechless. Some studies show that many view public speaking as their number one fear.

We live in a society in which communication is vital and crucial to our everyday way of life and survival. So many professions and careers require us to address an audience of some kind and size at one time or another. Teachers, business people, retailers and clergy - just to name a few, all speak in public. Some circumstances may require a more formal delivery of information and may be more nerve wracking than others which are more casual and generally presented to smaller audiences. What many people with a fear of public speaking do not realize is that whether at work, at home or at school, we all do speak in public on a daily basis at one level or another. For someone suffering from a fear of public speaking, this would be the first observation I would point out to them.

Next, I would question if their fear was truly a fear of speaking in public or rather of delivering a speech or an address in a formal manner. In other words, what are you truly afraid of? Is it difficult for you to speak to the clerk at the checkout line in the department store while half a dozen or so other people are standing around and listening? If so, then you do truly have a fear of speaking in public. However, it if is more the idea of standing on a stage or at a podium then your fear is more of the formality issues and there are steps you can take to minimize, work with and perhaps even overcome this fear.

Create circumstances in which to present your words to others. Start small, don't try anything too big too quick. For example, at a family gathering or dinner ask permission to say grace at the dinner table. This is a wonderful place to begin, obviously because of your subject matter and also because you are surrounded by loves ones.

Next, try making a presentation at your child's school. Speak to your child's teacher to see if there is something that you could speak about that would fit into the current course of study and curriculum. You may even be able to do a presentation about your work and career. Try to pick a topic that you feel comfortable with and knowledgeable about. And alas, if you stumble the children making up your audience will most likely not mind.

As difficult as it may be at first you need to discipline yourself into taking advantage of any situation in which you can speak publicly. Volunteer to read at your church. Once again you are working with a safe subject matter and if you do make a mistake your audience will undoubtedly be forgiving.

At this point if you feel you still need to work on overcoming your fear check the course directory listings at your local college. Many colleges do offer both credit and non-credit public speaking classes where you will have the opportunity to work with a professional on the subject.

Above all, relax and try to have fun. You're on your way.

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