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          Do you need help to overcome your anxiety about speaking in public?
          9 tips to help you face your audience

          Fear of speaking in public is one of the most common fears and affects about 40% of the population. It’s also one of the most common phobias ahead of death, spiders, and heights.

          While some of us are born with a natural aptitude to face the crowd, including those who crave the spotlight and those who absolutely love to hear themselves speak, others will panic at the mere possibility of having to speak in public at some point in the future!

          There’s a third category—and I have to include myself here—of those who go through all the panic and anxiety before the event, but as soon as they are faced with an audience, fear magically disappears, and they turn into “stage unicorns.”

          When I was young, I was really shy—as well as an introvert—and I was absolutely terrified with the idea of speaking before a group of people. Later, as a student, I dreaded those awkward moments when I was asked to read out loud in class and tried to make myself invisible… Despite knowing the answers for most questions my teachers asked the class, I never answered unless I was prompted to do so.

          By “public” we don’t necessarily mean a large audience, such as making an Oscar speech. 🏆😅 It can be scary for many just knowing they’ll have to speak in front of their own classmates or co-workers.

          As a young adult, before facing my first class as a teacher I was physically ill and obsessively dreading the moment for two weeks. The night before, I couldn’t even sleep, I was that nervous! 🥱

          I entered that classroom shaking like a leaf. I walked to the blackboard facing the floor, doing my best to avoid the +20 curious pairs of eyes staring at me. I cowardly turned my back to the students and proceeded to write my name on the board… And as I was there, feeling so exposed, with my back to that group of strangers, in absolute terror, I realized I couldn’t run away. Avoidance just wasn’t an option. And the words crossed my mind: just be natural and be yourself—you are a good storyteller, so use that!

          As I turned to face them, astonishingly, I was a caterpillar turning into a butterfly… 🐛🦋

          Words and ideas were all flowing, and I was not only talking but being heard, and engaging with the whole class naturally!

          That’s when I found out I was a natural… 👩‍🏫‍🏫

          Common everyday situations can be scary 😨

          Nonetheless, even knowing I am quite good at speaking in public and I am instinctively able to understand and enthrall an audience, I avoid it all the same because I still panic before taking that leap!

          Let’s imagine much simpler and common situations, such as oral presentations at school, post-class discussions, job interviews, work meetings (also on Zoom or Skype), introducing ourselves to new colleagues or a supervisor, applying for loans or residence visas, witnessing in court hearings or police interrogation, etc. Or even having to receive clients when that’s not your usual function.

          Some of us will panic in advance at the mere thought of having to face a crowd sometime in the future.

          If you are a professional translator and work as a freelancer, chances are you must contact new clients in person—if not on a regular basis, at least sometimes. Even an audience of one can be scary if you’re an introvert. And speaking of language and translation services, forget about being an interpreter if public speaking scares you. 🧑‍🎤

          Glossophobia is the clinical term for the intense and incapacitating fear of speaking in public, and it is among the most common social phobias, with an approximate prevalence of 75%! Of course, fear isn’t always a phobia, but most people do fear public speaking to some extent.

          Nonetheless, speaking in public is a skill that is increasingly necessary in today’s job market. While in the past this skill was reserved only for specific professions, like performers and teachers, nowadays, most areas require us to perfect this ability. 🧑🏻‍💼

          Some people rely on tranquilizers to calm down before a presentation or a job interview. 💊 💊 Of course, this is not the best way to overcome nerves. Trust me, you don’t want to feel and/or look sedated when you face that crowd! 😱

          Where does fear of speaking in public stem from?

          Before you consider using tranquilizers, bear with me a bit longer.

          First, we must try to understand the origin of such fear.

          Fear is a normal human reaction that usually appears whenever our body and mind face a dangerous situation. What happens is that, in our culture, we are not properly prepared to face situations with this type of exposure, and this is why we feel so nervous.

          However, the fear of speaking in public is multifactorial. It can be due to a bad past experience, introversion, fear of rejection, fear of ridicule, speech insecurities, negative self-perception…

          But it usually happens, to a large extent, because we aren’t prepared.

          If you think about it, it’s logical to be afraid of doing something you weren’t trained to do. Speaking in public is a skill and, as such, it should be developed and improved.

          This fear can prevent you from speaking out about your experiences and your work, sharing your ideas, and offering solutions to problems that would help other people. It can also prevent you from growing professionally.

          How much is too much?

          A little nervousness before an important situation is completely normal. It’s a sign that we care and that this experience has value for our personal or professional life. It’s our body’s way of giving us a hand, because “stress hormones” (adrenaline, for example) will help us focus.

          However, when this feeling reaches excessive levels, it should be addressed. 😰

          Excess anxiety can interfere with our performance and have an impact on the message we are trying to deliver.

          9 tips to help you speak in public 🎭

          In this light, it’s a good idea to reduce nervousness when speaking in public to make the most of the situation and present yourself in the most efficient way.

          Fear of speaking in public is one of the most common fears and affects about 40% of the population. It’s also one of the most common phobias ahead of death, spiders, and heights.

          While some of us are born with a natural aptitude to face the crowd, including those who crave the spotlight and those who absolutely love to hear themselves speak, others will panic at the mere possibility of having to speak in public at some point in the future!

          There’s a third category—and I have to include myself here—of those who go through all the panic and anxiety before the event, but as soon as they are faced with an audience, fear magically disappears, and they turn into “stage unicorns.”

          When I was young, I was really shy—as well as an introvert—and I was absolutely terrified with the idea of speaking before a group of people. Later, as a student, I dreaded those awkward moments when I was asked to read out loud in class and tried to make myself invisible… Despite knowing the answers for most questions my teachers asked the class, I never answered unless I was prompted to do so.

          By “public” we don’t necessarily mean a large audience, such as making an Oscar speech. 🏆😅 It can be scary for many just knowing they’ll have to speak in front of their own classmates or co-workers.

          As a young adult, before facing my first class as a teacher I was physically ill and obsessively dreading the moment for two weeks. The night before, I couldn’t even sleep, I was that nervous! 🥱

          I entered that classroom shaking like a leaf. I walked to the blackboard facing the floor, doing my best to avoid the +20 curious pairs of eyes staring at me. I cowardly turned my back to the students and proceeded to write my name on the board… And as I was there, feeling so exposed, with my back to that group of strangers, in absolute terror, I realized I couldn’t run away. Avoidance just wasn’t an option. And the words crossed my mind: just be natural and be yourself—you are a good storyteller, so use that!

          As I turned to face them, astonishingly, I was a caterpillar turning into a butterfly… 🐛🦋

          Words and ideas were all flowing, and I was not only talking but being heard, and engaging with the whole class naturally!

          That’s when I found out I was a natural… 👩‍🏫‍🏫

          Common everyday situations can be scary 😨

          Nonetheless, even knowing I am quite good at speaking in public and I am instinctively able to understand and enthrall an audience, I avoid it all the same because I still panic before taking that leap!

          Let’s imagine much simpler and common situations, such as oral presentations at school, post-class discussions, job interviews, work meetings (also on Zoom or Skype), introducing ourselves to new colleagues or a supervisor, applying for loans or residence visas, witnessing in court hearings or police interrogation, etc. Or even having to receive clients when that’s not your usual function.

          Some of us will panic in advance at the mere thought of having to face a crowd sometime in the future.

          If you are a professional translator and work as a freelancer, chances are you must contact new clients in person—if not on a regular basis, at least sometimes. Even an audience of one can be scary if you’re an introvert. And speaking of language and translation services, forget about being an interpreter if public speaking scares you. 🧑‍🎤

          Glossophobia is the clinical term for the intense and incapacitating fear of speaking in public, and it is among the most common social phobias, with an approximate prevalence of 75%! Of course, fear isn’t always a phobia, but most people do fear public speaking to some extent.

          Nonetheless, speaking in public is a skill that is increasingly necessary in today’s job market. While in the past this skill was reserved only for specific professions, like performers and teachers, nowadays, most areas require us to perfect this ability. 🧑🏻‍💼

          Some people rely on tranquilizers to calm down before a presentation or a job interview. 💊 💊 Of course, this is not the best way to overcome nerves. Trust me, you don’t want to feel and/or look sedated when you face that crowd! 😱

          Where does fear of speaking in public stem from?

          Before you consider using tranquilizers, bear with me a bit longer.

          First, we must try to understand the origin of such fear.

          Fear is a normal human reaction that usually appears whenever our body and mind face a dangerous situation. What happens is that, in our culture, we are not properly prepared to face situations with this type of exposure, and this is why we feel so nervous.

          However, the fear of speaking in public is multifactorial. It can be due to a bad past experience, introversion, fear of rejection, fear of ridicule, speech insecurities, negative self-perception…

          But it usually happens, to a large extent, because we aren’t prepared.

          If you think about it, it’s logical to be afraid of doing something you weren’t trained to do. Speaking in public is a skill and, as such, it should be developed and improved.

          This fear can prevent you from speaking out about your experiences and your work, sharing your ideas, and offering solutions to problems that would help other people. It can also prevent you from growing professionally.

          How much is too much?

          A little nervousness before an important situation is completely normal. It’s a sign that we care and that this experience has value for our personal or professional life. It’s our body’s way of giving us a hand, because “stress hormones” (adrenaline, for example) will help us focus.

          However, when this feeling reaches excessive levels, it should be addressed. 😰

          Excess anxiety can interfere with our performance and have an impact on the message we are trying to deliver.

          9 tips to help you speak in public 🎭

          In this light, it’s a good idea to reduce nervousness when speaking in public to make the most of the situation and present yourself in the most efficient way.

          Find out about the audience in advance. One of the main reasons for anxiety is fear of the audience. Because you believe people will judge you or because you have no idea what they are expecting from your presentation, this is often a major concern. Finding information about your audience will increase your confidence, so try to find out elements such as age, level of education, how much they know about the subject of the presentation, etc.

          Organize your speech and gather and/or create reference material to use during the presentation. But remember, reference material is meant to help your audience engage, and maybe give you a small breather, not to stick to just reading your speech out loud!

          Take the time to practice. Relying on improvisation will increase the pressure, which creates a negative cycle: concentration, which may in turn give you even more anxiety. Practice your speech to become familiar with the content. The more you practice, the more it will boost your confidence.

          Record a video simulating the presentation and watch it to take note of any issues you may need to change, and take the time to make the necessary adjustments.

          Avoid technical fails. Malfunctions during your presentation can make you more nervous. Check lights, furniture, microphone, slides, internet connection, etc. beforehand.

          Don’t be negative. Avoid thinking a lot about what could go wrong. Sometimes we focus too much on what could go wrong, so try to control this tendency and focus on other thoughts.

          On the day of the presentation and the day before, do things that help you relax, like watching a movie or series that you enjoy or listening to your favorite music. By doing so, you won’t focus as much on what could go wrong with your presentation.

          On the day of the presentation, avoid drinks like coffee, energy drinks, sodas, and other stimulants. Caffeine is a substance known to increase stress and anxiety. Do hydrate yourself, though—just drink tea and water.

          Just before the presentation, practice diaphragmatic breathing exercises. Just by doing breathing exercises, we can “trick” our brain into believing we are calm and there is no danger, so there will be no unwanted adrenaline surges, no fight or flight response.

          • Extra tip: don’t fidget. Use your hands and arms naturally. You may use gestures to illustrate what you are saying, keeping your hands in sight at all times, in line with and above the waist (but not over your shoulders). Just be sure not to fidget and don’t hide your hands.

          👉 So, don’t forget: the best antidote for speaking in public is preparation!

          👉 Speaking of which, don’t forget to browse through our blog for more tips on everyday subjects that will help you be prepared for everything.

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