Rehearsal Is The Key To Subduing Public Speaking Anxiety

By Sue Hamrick

Like death, taxes and annoying co-workers, public speaking is an inevitable part of every adult's life - we all have to go through it at least once.

You might have proposed a toast at a wedding, or reported in front of a class. You may have had to discuss something in front of a panel to get promoted. In some jobs, panel interviews would require the applicant to speak and answer questions extemporaneously in front of a group of people.

All of these and more would require a person to get up and speak out in front of a number of people.

Now this can be a good thing for the speaker...or a bad thing.

It has been proven in studies that a lot of Americans count public speaking as one of their top fears.

So what's to do if we want to overcome our public speaking anxiety and gain more confidence?

It's simple, really - don't run away from the situation, gain knowledge of your material, and rehearse.

The fear of speaking in public is one that can be overcome, so consider the following tips if you have decided to face your fear:

Know your material.

Prepare an outline of your speech and look for bits of information which could be a major point of interest.

Research - it is not enough to master your speech, but you want to be well-prepared for any surprise questions that may be raised in the duration of your presentation.

Before the fateful day of your speech, run your own dress rehearsal.

If you are making a formal presentation in a particular place, go to the venue a day ahead or several hours before the presentation to familiarize yourself with the surroundings.

If there is a rostrum, stand in front of it and test the height. If certain adjustments have to be made, then make them so you can be sure people will see you as you speak.

Simultaneously, you can test other equipment, such as your microphone, before proceeding with the main event - your speech.

You may want to bone up on your Microsoft Excel (tm) and Powerpoint (tm) so you can make interesting and eye-catching charts and photos for a slide presentation.

Time is of the essence in these engagements, so you can run-through your entire speech and record yourself while doing so. This would give you anidea of how long it will run. And maybe more important than this would be the tone of your voice - if discussing a major talking point, this is where you want your voice to perk up or become more passionate.

Have somebody shoot a video of yourself rehearsing your speech, or do it yourself.

Review the video afterwards and take note of vocal inflections (or lack of) or unnecessary hand gestures that need to be eliminated.

Practice makes perfect, so it is very important to rehearse before giving out that all-important oral presentation and help you reduce your public speaking anxiety.

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