There are a few reasons why people are afraid to stand up in front of a group and speak:
- The fear of being ridiculed;
- The fear of being judged;
- Separation anxiety (everyone else is seated and you aren’t).
I have worked with enough people throughout the years to understand that I can’t snap my fingers to make the fear disappear. But, I can help anyone appear more confident.
How? Instead of spending sleepless nights fearful of failure, turn that negative energy and useless worry into something positive. Write down all of your positive traits, and remind yourself the value you bring to your organization. Do you have an energetic, engaging personality? Are you genuine and sincere? Do you have a deep expertise in the suject matter?
Prepare! Don’t wait until the last minute.
Practice! At least 6 times before the presentation.
Take time, before your speech that day, to mentally walk through each aspect of your presentation. Picture yourself speaking with confidence and clarity.
When it is your time to speak and as you take your place in front of the room, don’t let the fear show in your posture. Think of what your mother drummed into you….STAND UP STRAIGHT.
Are you still feeling the butterflies? Channel those nerves into a communication skill.
The best skill to include that will mask the nerves is a descriptive, purposeful hand gesture. Find ways, throughout your speech, to use your hands to describe your theory, plan or widget.
Remember, the listeners want you to succeed. (Don’t you feel the same when you are sitting in the audience?)
Know that the strengths you have will be evident. Let that solid foundation power your presentation.