Most people grow up fearing mythical monsters in their closet or the boogeyman under their bed. But what’s worse than fictional Halloween creatures and things that go bump in the night? It’s the things that haunt you in your adult life— like public speaking (or bills)— that are the scariest. Presentations are something that most people will have to do, yet almost everyone fears.
Is it the fear of standing alone? The fear of being on an open stage with nowhere to hide? The blank stares that you can’t avoid? The fear of rejection? Whatever it is, you’re not alone. In fact, according to The National Institute of Mental Health, the fear of public speaking— or glossophobia— affects nearly 75% of the population. So much so that people actually fear public speaking more than death. Read that again— glossophobia is real. They would rather die than give a eulogy at a funeral. Crazy, right?
What if we told you that you didn’t have to be afraid? Much like you conquered your childhood fears of imaginary ghosts, you can conquer your fear of public speaking, too. We’re here to help with four easy strategies to overcome the fear of public speaking and squash your glossophobia.
Know your story
Public speaking all starts with your story. You should focus on this part of your presentation before you even think about opening a blank slide. Are you teaching, encouraging, or persuading your audience? What’s your key takeaway? Outline your narrative first, and then dive into the deck. Once you’ve nailed down your story, we can help you structure your thoughts in a way that flows in a presentation.
Before you try to convince others to feel a certain way about your message, it's important to make sure you’re passionate about it. If you’re confident in your story, and what you’re sharing, that will translate into the execution of your presentation. That confidence in your content should help ground you if you’re feeling anxious in front of your audience. It’s your story, so tell it loud and proud.
Be proud of what you present
We can all agree that presenting takes confidence. Easier said than done, right? It’s not something that you can just turn on and off. That said, there is an element of confidence that comes with having a professional looking deck. If your presentation deck is mediocre, you might be less enthused to share it. You want to be proud of what you’re presenting. Build a deck in Beautiful.ai, and build your confidence.
With our smart slides and pre-built presentation templates curated by industry experts, we give you a leg up on presentation design. You can find comfort in the fact that your deck will always look clean and professional. While we can’t control how you feel on stage, we can help you create something brilliant that even people with the worst fear of public speaking would be excited to share.
Challenge your fears
Instead of worrying about tripping over your words, or every potential moment of awkward silence, challenge those fears. Acknowledge your worries, and then decide how you’ll react if they happen. Envision yourself losing your train of thought in front of a live audience, and then picture how you’ll recover from the fumble. If you go into your presentation prepared for the worst, you’ll feel more confident about it.
Of course, this requires practice to ensure that you’re prepared. Afterall, practice makes perfect (or so they say). The more comfortable you are with the ins and outs of your presentation, the less likely a slip-up will shake you on stage. The right preparation will help you challenge your fear of public speaking.
Visualize your success (and then celebrate it)
Once you challenge your fears, you can visualize your success. Going into the process with an open mind is key. What is your most favorable outcome? Is it a call to action at the end of the presentation? Is it simply making it through the deck without freezing on stage? Visualizing your success will help ease your worries. Despite your doubts, your audience is there for a reason, they’re interested in what you have to say— so you've already won.
You’ve likely heard the saying “fake it until you make it”. This can apply to presentations, too. If you can visualize your success, you can trick your mind into thinking you will be successful. Having that confidence in your back pocket is a game changer. And of course, don’t forget to celebrate your wins once you’re done.