Three Ways to Ditch Your Public Speaking Fears

Public speaking.

If the two words make you run for cover, we totally get it. Here’s the thing though about speaking — the more you do it, the better you get at it. The more you feel at ease, the more you kick anxieties to the curb.

According to a post on PsychologyToday, death is ranked number two in terms of fears and guess what’s number one? That’s right. It’s speaking. Preston Ni writes in the post, “If you think about it, fear of public speaking is also a fear of death—an emotional death. We feel naked and exposed in front of an audience.”

Plus, Ni says we think people will scrutinize every single thing we say and do. “We pressure ourselves to be perfect, or else our self-worth suffers. We dread confronting the possibility of rejection. “The only key then is preparing ourselves not to be perfect, right? Here are three of Ni’s tips to overcoming your fears.

1. Don’t expect perfection. Maybe you’re simply too hard on yourself. Maybe you kick yourself for every little perceived (key word being perceived) mistake you think you make. Maybe imperfections get magnified while actually things that worked really well get ignored.
Ni explains, “The truth is, even the best, most experienced speakers make many mistakes. When they do, they recover, keep going gracefully, and all is well. This is one of the keys to public speaking success: to keep going gracefully.” And think of it this way — the audience will never know your mistakes anyway.

2. Avoid equating public speaking to your self-worth. Let’s say you’re incredibly successful (okay, let’s assume this is a given!). Public speaking makes up a fraction of your skills and abilities. “Whether you’re good at public speaking or not has nothing to do with your value as a person. It’s simply a skill that you can learn and become better at with practice.”

And remember, as Ni pofints out, legendary Bruce Springsteen once mentioned if he felt relaxed before a concert, he wouldn’t perform as well as if he felt real nerves. He has learned to make the most out of his nerves to power them up on stage.

3. Avoid trying to memorize every word. There’s no need to do it, trust us. Be yourself and know the content in terms of a framework but not verbatim. If you try to remember every word, you may increase your stress and anxiety. This may, in turn, create more nervousness if the sequence of words get jumbled out of order.