I remember my ninth grade year, when we spent an entire month planning for speeches we were going to make in our English classes. I did the research, wrote it all out, created my props, but couldn’t get over one thing: my fear of speaking in front of people. I simply couldn’t make myself see it as a good thing. I thought I would mess up and completely blank on everything I needed to say, meanwhile my teacher and classmates would laugh at me for the rest of the year.
Then, I think about how I view public speaking now; I love it. In fact, it would be a dream job if my life ever turned out that way. Whenever I have to do a speech in class, I’m excited and always thinking of new things to do during them.
So…how did I get from one extreme to the other?
I Listened to Advice
I’m not talking about any advice, dear readers, but the advice of past teachers and anyone else that would listen to me do a speech. When people can watch you and critique you, you’ll learn what you’re doing wrong and how to fix it.
Plus, teachers can be some of the best people to help you through your fears. They speak in front of people for a living (granted it is a bit different than your normal public speaking) and many times know how to get around the speed bump you’re experiencing.
I Recorded Myself
A little thing that many people hate is hearing themselves on a voice recording or watching themselves on a video. However, it can be the greatest help when you’re experiencing stage fright. Record yourself saying whatever you need to and then watch it back.
Not only that, but critique yourself. Get used to seeing yourself this way and then comment on what you’re watching objectively.
I Watched Ted Talks
This was the biggest help, oddly enough. Seeing other people getting up there, in front of a huge crowd, and passionately talk about what they love.
Watch a few Ted Talks that you’re interested in and see the way these speakers talk. Their fear is there, but they work past it because they’ve got something important to tell others.
These are the three main things that helped me in the transition from one side of public speaking to the other. It’s an important skill to practice, because it’ll come into great use the older you get. So, why not get a start now?