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Would You Rather Die Than Speak in Public?

Flickr, Brisbane City Council

It is said that some people would rather die than stand up in front of an audience to speak publicly. Seriously, people? I’m not always the most comfortable public speaker myself, but I definitely would not choose dying over speaking. I am taking a public speaking class this semester, and I am starting to figure out the best tips to give someone who is extremely terrified of giving a speech. Get this:  fear is actually your friend.The fear and anxiety you have right before you are about to give a speech is actually a good thing. If you were not a little bit nervous, wouldn’t something be wrong? Stage fright actually prepares and teaches us how to deliver a better speech and overcome anxiety for the future. When we step on stage we become more aware of our posture, breathing, and eye contact.  These are all extremely important factors to give a good speech which others will remember. Also, once you stand before your audience and focus on the subject at hand, your stage fright should quickly diminish.

Five main components of fear before giving a speech:

1.) Tight throat
2.) Sweaty hands
3.) Shaky hands
4.) Fast pulse
5.) Red cheeks and ears

Here are the best, five ways to overcome your stage fright:

1.) You must be prepared before giving any type of speech. Know the material you are to discuss in front of an audience.
2.) Organize your notes so you will not loose your train of thought and begin to panic.
3.) Think about how comfortable you are at speaking in front of friends or family.
4.)  Take deep breaths. I promise this helps.
5.) Look at the most friendliest faces in the audience to help you feel more secure and less  isolated.

If all else fails, joke about your nervousness! Believe it or not, I have heard of people doing this and it apparently lightens up the mood dramatically.  With time, practice and experience, everyone has the capability of becoming a wonderful public speaker. Until then, don’t be too hard on yourself and know that you are not alone.


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