Speaking in front of others can be empowering, energizing, and often essential for success in your career or to persuade others that something should be done. Most people have the opportunity at some point, whether it’s giving a toast at a wedding, a pep talk to a sports team, a bar mitzvah talk to a congregation, a presentation at town meeting, or a formal talk to conventioneers.
Is it possible to get over a fear of speaking? Of course! People do it every day, and so can you!
A key ingredient for losing your fear:
Care for your audience. As you’re planning to give your talk stop thinking about being nervous and how you’re going to perform, and instead think only about your audience. Find out as much as you can about them. Then consider these questions:
Why have they come together as a group? What’s in it for them to listen to you? What are they expecting from you?
Once you have a feel for what they’re expecting, your job as speaker is to fulfill those expectations, whether it’s for information, entertainment, instruction, or an experience. Put yourself in their shoes – they’re expecting a speaker who confidently and engagingly shares interesting information with them. So as long as that’s what they get from you, they’ll concentrate on what you say and not on you as a person. Giving them what they expect actually takes their attention off you as a person and onto your information or the experience you’re sharing with them. You may feel like an actor at first, but keep concentrating on your audience’s needs and expectations, and soon you’ll lose your fear.
If you focus on your audience and your audience’s needs – actually care for them – you’re not focusing on yourself. If you’re not focusing on yourself, you won’t be nervous. It’s simple. It just takes practice!