Some people tend to rank the fear of public speaking higher than the fear of death. Whether it is a team meeting, client pitch or a speech, there are many who tend to freeze up and are unable to speak when faced with such a scenario. Being unable to speak up in meeting rooms and social settings can be a setback for your personal and professional life. Here are some tips that you can put to use today to rid yourself of this ‘pitching’ anxiety.
No matter where you might be presenting your pitch it is a good idea to try to arrive early and get an understanding of the stage and space available. With extra time on your hands you can allow yourself time to settle in and feel relaxed. In the world of virtual meetings and virtual office spaces we have forgotten that our physical body has responses to stimuli and needs time to feel comfortable. To gain further control over the situation, close your eyes and picture yourself in that space delivering your pitch with confidence and enthusiasm and allow your mind to turn that picture into reality.
The fear of public speaking often stems from the fear of imperfection. We must learn to accept the fact that no speech can be ‘perfect’ and it is better to simply deliver your speech to the best of your abilities. To be able to deliver a speech well it is important to make your audience feel like you know and understand the subject matter. Become an authority on the topic, thus earning your audience's attention. Whether you are speaking from up high on a stage or up close in a conference room, your pitch will always be better as a dialogue instead of a monologue.
Toastmasters are clubs across the globe created exclusively to help members improve their oratory skills. Just like coworking offices, individuals with similar goals get together and practice and encourage each other on their journey. Over time each member becomes used to the process and is able to permanently level-up their public speaking skills through guidance and practice. To further raise your skills it is important to attend other speeches and note down what popular speakers do. Gauge how the audience feels and reacts as a member of the crowd. Be aware of pauses and body language cues that appear confident. Practice makes perfect.
While this may be useful in the long run most times all we get are 15 minutes before we have to walk into the conference room and deliver the pitch of our lives. A piece of advice that you can use right now is to accept your fear instead of fighting it. Overthinking whether people like you or not, whether you are coming off as confident or not can make you feel needy and creates a bad impression. Accept your nervousness and openly make it a part of your pitch. Your audience will appreciate your honesty and trust you for being open and accepting of your fears and shortcomings.
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