May 272013

Public speaking fear

Fear of speaking in Public is common and shared by many people around the world. This fear can be made even worse when speaking in English as your second language. But public speaking is like any skill — you get better at it the more you practice. In most cases, the fear of public speaking goes away with a little experience. Still, there are some useful steps you can take to improve your public speaking ability.

1. Organize your thoughts carefully. Determine what it is you are going to speak about and who your audience is. You can do this by building a structure around your main theme. Shorter speeches are usually more engaging than longer ones, but you still need to present enough evidence to support your main idea.

2. Practice reading. This is an extremely important step when speaking English as a second language. English is a difficult language to pronounce, with many grammatical inconsistencies. If possible, have a native English speaker listen to you and correct your pronunciation as you read. If necessary, you can even write a short pronunciation guide under any problem words.

3. Work on your body language. Body language is a key part of keeping an audience engaged and it’s one form of communication that’s truly universal. By expressing yourself with gestures and emphasis, you will find the audience stays interested and won’t get hung up on one or two mistakes.

4. Accept your fears and concerns. It’s okay to be nervous. Admitting to yourself that you are nervous and you’re okay with that will do a great deal to control your feelings.

5. Speak to one person at a time. Don’t try to look out over the entire audience during your speech. Simply make eye contact with one person, communicate with him for a few sentences and then change to someone else. Another option is to look just slightly above the person in the last row. To the audience, you will appear to be looking at them, but you won’t be giving yourself the extra pressure of trying to maintain eye contact.

By William Carne


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