Managing your fear of public speaking

Many people have a fear of public speaking, there is even a name for it: Glossophobia. In this video students talk about getting over their fear of public speaking.

Tips for reducing your fear

You will have less fear of speaking if you are

  • well organised, and
  • well prepared for your presentation.

Follow these tips below:

Know the content of your presentation well so you can present to your audience, and so you can answer questions from them.

This is vital for ensuring you can pitch your presentation at the appropriate level for them. Make it interesting for your audience, tell them the purpose of your presentation and give them a reason to listen: find a relevance or importance for your audience.

Write your presentation so you can speak it and the audience can follow what you are saying. Use clear spoken language, avoid jargon, but define terms that your audience might not know. Use transitional words. Highlight important points, but have just a few key ones. Keep the amount of content manageable (for you and your audience). Consider including a take home message in the conclusion.

Practise it several times so you don’t need to read it. Use a mirror to try out facial expressions. Film yourself and watch it back. Present your talk to a friend or family member and get feedback. Time yourself so it is the correct length.

Make palm cards to remind you of what you are going to say. Check over your slides. Arrive early to the room where you will be presenting and make sure the equipment is working. Have a back-up plan in the event something fails.

To manage your nerves, do some light exercise before speaking. Use breathing relaxation techniques. Visualise yourself giving a brilliant presentation.

Speak slowly, clearly and confidently. Be aware of articulation and pronunciation; practise new words, especially technical terms. Vary the tone and pitch of your voice. Use pauses to emphasise key points.

It’s better to be too short (and allow for questions) than too long.