If you are seen as an expert in your industry, chances are you will be asked to speak at a conference in front of your peers where you will be asked to deliver a great presentation. Unfortunately, many individuals who are working in the tech field are introverts and have not learned the art of public speaking and will therefore shy away from this great opportunity.
Men and women from all walks of life may share one thing in common: fear of public speaking (known as glossophobia). When confronted with the necessity to do a business presentation, they will be forced to face and learn how to overcome this fear. While it may seem daunting to get up on stage and talk to a live audience, rest assured that with the proper preparation, you can overcome the challenges that you will face.
Prepare your material
Preparing your own material can help you overcome the fear of public speaking. The reason behind this is that you will know the material and become very comfortable with it. Preparing your own material means that you know the substance of your material well. This also means that you will be well prepared to deliver a solid presentation.
“The first thing any great speaker must do is be able to deliver their speech without trying to memorize it” says Dan Smith of Keynote Speakers. “It is essential that you are able to get up on stage and speak naturally so that you do not sound like a stiff robot.”
Study your material
If you do not have the luxury of preparing your presentation yourself, make sure you study it completely. Although you do not want your presentation to sound like it is over-rehearsed, studying your material will help you when making a presentation. The more thoroughly you master the order that your presentation is to be done in, the easier it will be for you to conquer your fear of public speaking.
Another tactic that will help you overcome the fear of public speaking is to anticipate what questions may arise before, during and after your presentation. This exercise can help you feel more confident as you face an audience. Review a list of possible questions and prepare your answers. While you may not be able to anticipate every question, this exercise can help boost your self confidence.
“Before I get on stage I always assume that people are going to ask me random questions about my speech” says John Rogan of Motivational Speakers. “I want to make sure my mind is prepared for anything and that I am ready for any kind of question.”
Review the area of the presentation
Whenever possible, review the venue where you will be making your presentation. This helps you establish where you will be in relation to your audience. It will also help you gauge how loudly you must speak in order to be heard. Check out audio equipment at the same time. These things can help increase your confidence.
Practice with someone you trust
Ask a friend or family member to allow you to test out all or a portion of your presentation with them acting as your audience. Make sure they know that you need honest feedback so that you can perfect your presentation. They will not be doing you any favors if they do not tell you the truth. Practice until you are comfortable.
Create index cards
Create a set of index cards that cover your topics with bullet points for you to talk about. Using index cards will help keep you on track and keep you focused. Staying on track and focused is another valid way to overcome fear of public speaking.
When the big day arrives
On the day that you will make your presentation, there are some things that you can do to help you feel better about the upcoming presentation. They are:
- Eat breakfast – While you may feel a bit queasy, it is a good idea to eat a good breakfast. This will help you concentrate and will avoid that mid-morning crash.
- Dress comfortably – Make sure that you have dressed professionally but comfortably. The better you feel, the more likely you will be to forget about your fear.
- Have plenty of water – Bring or request a bottle of water at the podium where you will be making your presentation. Not only will this allow you to take sips of water to prevent dry mouth, it may also be a good distraction to gather your thoughts.
- Duplicate copies of presentation – There are few things more intimidating than arriving at a location to give a presentation than finding out the disk with your presentation does not work. have a backup plan. You should have at least one printed copy of your complete presentation and at least two electronic versions.
- Do not mention that you are nervous – One of the worst things you can do is tell your audience you are nervous. This will likely make you even more nervous. Relax, take a deep breath and introduce yourself. Most people find that once they begin speaking they will get less nervous.
While initially the idea of speaking in public may strike fear in the hearts of many, learning how to overcome fear of public speaking is not that difficult. Practice, knowing your material and being comfortable in your own skin are all factors that will help you overcome fear of public speaking.
Author | Emily Forbes
An Entrepreneur, Mother & A passionate tech writer in the technology industry!