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Fear Of Public Speaking

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Tips To Become A Calm Public Speaker  


In a enlightening article written in the Hindustan Times, journalist Sonal Kalra provides readers with insight regarding how to maintain your composure and remain calm while speaking in public.

Sonal herself struggled with the problem of fear during public speaking and worked out her own method to beat it.

Here are the tips she offers:

"Prepare and practice, reatin a broad ide,a don’t memorise: The most experienced public speakers in the world have this one advice for you — always prepare in your head, if not on paper, what you are going to say.

It could mean rehearsing it in front of the bathroom mirror, your domestic help, a spouse or even a bunch of friends — just practise a few times. But don’t make the mistake of ratta-fying a piece of prepared text.

Trying to memorise something word by word puts a tremendous additional load on your brain, and that, if anything, would only make you nervous.

Just retain a broad idea in your head about how to start, what you want to say, and let the words flow naturally.  

Just do it:  The best way to overcome the stress of public speaking is to grab every opportunity of doing it. If it means volunteering to make the presentation or nominating yourself for a contest, then please do it, don’t shy away.

The feeling that you are in control and have chosen to speak out rather than it being forced on you, is the first sign of confidence.

And you should also be proud of the fact that of all the people, only you had the guts to volunteer your name for something that scares the shit out of others.

Keep it simple: This is the golden rule. ‘Keep It Short, Stupid’. People love speakers who are brief. And those who keep the language simple. It’s very important to speak the lingo of your audience.

I get a lot of mails from readers of this column who say they like reading this because the language used is easy to comprehend. It’s another thing that the reason for this could be that my vocabulary is limited, but then it sure works for me if readers don’t feel bogged down by complicated wordplay.

So, the next time you are up for addressing an audience, say something that they’ll not have to stress to understand. They’ll love you for it."

Look a friend in the audience: You may have heard tips like, think of everyone in the audience as a fool, or naked, and you’ll feel more confident. I’m not sure if that works, and I do not trust what expressions your face may belie if you’ll visualise a room full of naked people. Instead, try and look for a friendly face in the audience. There’s always one.

I remember once I had to give a talk at an event which had a packed…and the most grim-faced audience in the world. I then spotted this one woman who would smile and nod at every other sentence I spoke.

Soon I realised that I was speaking to her, and that no one else in the auditorium mattered enough to make me feel nervous.

Look for a friendly face, it always works. And just to return good karma, ensure that you are a friendly face when you are in the audience and someone else is trying to brave it on stage.

Perfection is not expected: If you think that by stuttering, stammering or getting tongue tied while speaking will make you look like a fool in front of the audience, you are indeed a fool. Because, the ande, tamatar and chappal throwing happens only in jokes and movies.

In real life, the audience feels for the guy/girl who is human enough to forget lines or get nervous. They admire your courage, because they themselves don’t have it. If you get stuck while speaking, it's not a problem. Just apologise to the audience and take a minute to collect your thoughts. Believe me, their heart will go out to you.

And on another note, when we are on-stage, we also make the mistake of thinking that everyone is intently watching and listening to what we are saying.

Allow me to burst that bubble please. Some are busy texting on their phones (bad manners), some are day dreaming about Katrina Kaif, some are too nervous because their turn is yet to come and some are wondering which film to watch in the evening. That is how audiences are, world over.

So heavens won’t fall if you’ll pronounce something wrong or stammer at a sentence. You may be the only one noticing.




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