It takes that extra something to be able to address a group of people. With every public performance, be it a recital or just simple elocution, nervousness is something that people experience side by side. Any form of public performances, be it song recitals or even dance performance, may cause it.
This is not only in context to the palpitations that one experiences when he has to make a public speech; that bit of anxiety is desirable and is what that pushes us to give our best.
However, another important aspect is about having cold feet and a feeling of dizziness when one even thinks of speaking to a crowd. Let's understand its causes and some public speaking tips to overcome this drawback.
Some unpleasant childhood experiences are what have been found to be one of the main reasons for nervousness during public speaking. One wrong pronunciation, one lapse of memory and the whole class may laugh at you.
The teacher may scold you so that you don't repeat the mistake. But, any one of such instances may leave an indelible impression in a child's mind, that scars his confidence to speak for a lifetime.
Apart than this, there is the fear of rejection and self-consciousness. Am I looking wise? Am I talking smart? Would my point be accepted? What if I am criticized in front of everyone? These thoughts often plague one when he is required to make a public speech. After all, no one wants to cut a sorry image of oneself in front of an audience.
Well, while there are inherent factors that relate nervousness to public speaking, there is another aspect that goes a long way in making great public speakers out of average men. That factor is "practice." Rehearsing one's speech using some techniques can go a long way in making one an impressive public orator.
Tips to Overcome the Nervousness
Internet and libraries are excellent repositories of information on almost any subject. Familiarize yourself with the various aspects of the topic and prepare for all the probable questions that the audience may have regarding your speech.
The audience there does not expect you to come out with many brilliant ideas. Some useful suggestions would surely be expected. Nevertheless, you wouldn't be walked to the gallows if the audience did not agree with you. All that is expected of you is to give some relevant points that you must make to sound credible, using proper reason and logic.
Reach the Venue Well Before Time
Remember that what makes us more nervous is how we feel just before the speech than what happens once we are on the podium. Reach the venue well in advance. This is one of the most effective methods for nervousness control. Familiarize yourself with the surroundings.
Talk to people around; some of them may be the audience. This will help you relax before the event starts, and you would realize then that the audience does not expect a revelation from you. Remember that more than what one speaks, it is how one maintains the flow that sets the audience's reaction in one's favor.
Observe the smart ones; how they speak, their body language, and how they interact with the audience. You may think that the confidence that they exude is something that they were born with. But, this is something that can be inculcated over time.
Practice in your college auditorium or in your office boardroom when it is unoccupied. You could also ask a friend to sit for audience and take his feedback on your performance. At home, look into the mirror and practice your speech. Observe your body language and make a note of the aspects that need to be worked on.
Before Walking Up to the Stage
While you are sitting with the other speakers, take deep breaths. Fresh supply of oxygen will soothe you and calm your nerves. In most cases, speakers sit facing the audience.
Within the crowd, there would always be a few friendly faces. Locate them and remember to look at them while you speak. If you are carrying your notes, attach the picture of your pet, friend, or your favorite cartoon character - whatever makes you smile, and occasionally look at them.
When on Stage
If you are carrying your notes, don't hold them in your hand once you walk over to the microphone. Also, don't hold the microphone. In case your nerves haven't yet calmed and your hands are trembling, your notes or the microphone would betray your nervousness.
One of the most effective approaches is to start your speech with a tinge of humor. It could be a joke or a funny incident (could be fictitious, but you could pass it off as a true one). Try to maintain eye contact with the audience; this would compel the people to relate to you and your content.
Most of us experience nervousness, and although many just dream of being that wonderful orator, very few of us understand that being a good speaker isn't rocket science. It is more about positive thinking and knowing that failures are the pillars of success.