Fear of public speaking can reduce even the most eloquent man or woman into a quaking mass of anxiety. Stepping up to a podium and facing a room full of people whose eyes are boring into you, waiting with anticipation for you to begin, can skin the nerves of anyone not used to publicly sharing their expertise. Overcoming the fear of oral presentations can be achieved, however, by applying techniques developed to help you own the stage.
Know Your Topic
The best way to start cutting away at the fear of giving oral presentations is to know your stuff. Delve into the topic as deeply as you can. You can do this not only by using the Web, but also by gleaning information from books, magazines and reports. You might even want to consider interviewing experts in your field of study. Confidence is built word by word. Be prepared to field any question after the presentation. Research will make you an expert, and that's how you want to appear.
Crafting Your Presentation
Once the research is complete, you'll begin crafting your presentation. For some people that might mean writing an essay-style paper from which they'll read verbatim. You might choose to use cue cards with the salient points highlighted. Adopt a method that makes you feel comfortable. If you're a funny person by nature, use a little humor to break the ice in your introduction. Overcoming the fear of giving oral presentations means approaching this challenge from the standpoint of your own comfort zone.
Practice Your Presentation
The due date for your presentation is looming and denial won't help. One sure-fire way to give yourself a case of the jitters is to not leave enough time to rehearse. Practicing doesn't mean just giving the material a cursory glance an hour before your cue. Take a week if you have it and practice every day. Stand in front of the mirror and glance up at yourself occasionally. Believe in what you see...a calm, confident authority figure in charge of his ability to impart information.
Visualizing the Outcome
You're fully prepared. You know your topic inside out; you've practiced until you could give the speech in your sleep. It's time to work on the primal fears. You dread looking like a fool. You're afraid of being judged. You fear fainting, coughing uncontrollably, or seizing up and not being able to say a word. Take a page from world-class athletes. Before an event they spend a considerable amount of time visualizing the outcome --- a win. Be your own champion and spend time positively affirming your confidence.
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