CC BY Serena Hutchison
May 5th, 2022
Overcoming Public Speaking Anxiety
For some, public speaking comes very natural and easily based on confidence or experience. For these speakers, their voice is audible, there is comfortable eye contact being made with the crowd, and there is little to no swaying back and forth while presenting to the audience. For many though, public speaking does not come as easy. Whether you are very social around your friends and are confident outside of the classroom, when put in front of a crowd, you are in a different ball game. For these speakers, they may tend to tremble their words, refrain from keeping eye contact with the crowd, and or sway back and forth. So how do we overcome this anxiety behind public speaking, so we can fully portray who we are to the crowd and knock down the stigma of anxiety connected to public speaking.
In myself, I notice that when I know I am the only one speaking in the room and eyes are on me is when I start to tremble and sway back and forth. For me, being able to acknowledge what gives me anxiety was crucial. Furthermore, I was able to decrease my anxious tendencies while presenting. Another factor of anxious public speaking I saw myself portraying was trying to maintain eye contact but then going off track and stumbling my words. Like many, I am very social outside of the classroom but when I am in front of a group of people I may not know or am not comfortable with, this is when I become anxious.
So what are my tips to fix this?
I have a few tips on how to overcome public speaking anxiety. In my own experience, understanding that everybody else in the room is worried about their own presentations that they present helps me understand that I am not the only one going through the anxiety of presenting. Furthermore, understanding that your topic could be very interesting to the audience as it may be an informative presentation that the audience may enjoy or may have never heard of is something else that takes anxiousness off my shoulders. Another tip I have for overcoming presentation anxiety correlates to if you are in a group presentation. Getting to know the presentation group is a key factor for me and installs comfort while presenting. To add, when you are comfortable with your presentation group, this could be a gateway to meeting up outside of class to practice the presentation.
There is nothing wrong about getting nervous to present. It is okay to be anxious to stand up confidently and present to a group of people you may not know. In the end, the idea of a presentation is to share your findings on a topic. After your hard work making a presentation, you deserve to share a beautiful presentation and reward yourself on all the new information you learned!