Did you know that glossophobia, or a fear of public speaking, is a very common phobia and one that is believed to affect up to 75% of the population? If you have a bit of anxiety about talking in front of crowds, or if the thought of it makes you want to vomit, you probably fall within this category. Preparing for a presentation takes a lot of time and dedication. It requires a full commitment to ensuring your final take is the best.
Few of us are true extroverts, and even fewer of us are comfortable with public speaking. Even team meetings with your colleagues can be stressful and challenging. How do you overcome the fear of public speaking? With persistence and preparation, it’s entirely possible to beat glossophobia.
The more you prepare for the presentation, the more confident you will be in your ability to deliver it. Whether you are presenting a project at school or showcasing a business plan in front of your company leaders, being able to speak publicly is a valuable skill that can only be grown with practice.
Although there is no set formula or guaranteed method for delivering the perfect presentation, there is plenty of tips and advice to be had. Check out these 4 tips to prepare for a presentation and remember: it all comes down to doing what you need to in order to feel confident and comfortable giving the presentation.
1. Time Yourself With a Script Timer
How long will it take to read your script at your speed? Estimate your script’s length and plan your video with a free script timer. With the help of Vidyard, you’ll be able to have a better sense of the length of your presentation and understand whether you need to cut out some lines or make your script more robust. Perhaps you need to slow down your talking or speed it up. This is especially useful if you are participating in a timed presentation where you only have a certain amount of time to deliver your talking points.
2. Know Your Talking Points
Every good presentation starts with a script. The script doesn’t necessarily have to be word-for-word, but it should at least contain talking points that you intend to touch upon as you are presenting. Some people use index cards to help them make sure they are hitting all their points. Others use PowerPoint presentations or other related tools to supplement their presentation.
Even if you don’t intend to use the index cards or PowerPoint, psychologically it sometimes helps to know you have that safety net in case you were to freeze up or blank out and forget your lines. It can be compared to having training wheels on a bike.
If you do intend to write a full script, you should still start out with the talking points that you can then expand upon as you write the script. From there, you can stick with a standard format: (a) tell them what you’re going to show them; (b) show them; and, (c) tell them what you just showed them.
3. Practice in Front of People
The best way to overcome your fear of public speaking is to practice in front of people! You won’t know how your presentation will actually go until you deliver in front of an audience. Gather your friends or family and start to practice. This will make you come across as more natural and less awkward since you have become accustomed to presenting in front of others.
In addition, be careful about taking advice from others. You should definitely keep an open mind and hear what your practice audience has to say – perhaps you aren’t making enough eye contact or not speaking loud enough. Still, the risk is that you try to incorporate changes you’re not really comfortable with, whether it’s in the actual script or in your presentation style, and you end up causing more damage than good. Given the opportunity, you should seek expert help with your presentation, but be careful about how you take any advice, especially late in the game.
4. Pace Yourself
Memorizing a script can feel overwhelming, especially if under a time crunch. If you’re unsure of the best method to memorize your script, we suggest going piece by piece and pacing yourself. Don’t expect to memorize the entire script in one day. Instead, memorize a paragraph every two days and before you’ll know it you’ll know the entire script like the back of your hand. Becoming very familiar with the script helps build confidence for your presentation and gives you the freedom to make more eye contact and hand gestures as you are more familiar with what is being said. You want to engage your audience as much as possible.