Why is speaking so hard?
Is walking difficult?
Does breathing exhuast you?
Do you become anxious about blinking?
So why does speaking, another natural everyday task, scare you so much?
Think about it – we speak all the time. Why then does speaking on stage frighten people? The difference is the power of self-image.
People don’t like to be viewed as weak, vulnerable, or boring. At the sub-conscious level, we understand that acceptance from others comes from having value, being authoritative and through likeability.
On stage you are judged. This is why people fear public speaking
Talking about the same subject, as you would on stage, with a group of friends in a cafe wouldn’t create worry – you focus on the discussion not how you are viewed.
But speaking in public about the same topic creates nervous speakers. Not because you lack expertise, because you focus on how you are viewed not the speech.
Confident Public Speakers
Increasing stage confidence is easier then most people would presume it to be.
Sometimes understanding the process of framing (outlined above) is enough for a speaker’s anxiety to decrease – knowledge is power. But for other orators, they need to practice stage confidence techniques.
Be an expert
Confident speakers know their subject inside and out. To be confident on stage you need to be an expert. Anxious speakers struggle with imposture syndrome.
You need to believe in your own level of competency. Having a large knowledge base makes speakers feel at ease on stage because they feel like the expert they are.
Only speak about subjects you know well.
Have a conversation
You dont need to stand on stage and speak.
Some of the best Ted Talks I have seen are filled with audience interaction. If speaking to large groups terrifies you, don’t do it. Instead, ask a member of the audience onto the stage and interact with them – demonstrate a technique, ask them questions (and reply highlighting your expertise) and use the audience members as human props.
Audience engagement narrows down the speaker’s visual arena from an audience of 100 people to just one person – and everyone can talk confidently to one individual.
Throw away the script
Practice creates fear. I have seen speakers terrified at the side of the stage because they are worried about getting every word, in the correct order, right, in time with the speech duration.
That’s a lot of pressure. Instead, throw away the script. Remember you are an expert on your subject. All you need to focus on is the message of your speech. With the message in mind, you can step onto the stage and tell any of a hundred anecdotes and stories, in any order.
This way each speech is different (but with the same message) and there is a lack of pressure on the public speaker.
Project Charisma deliver engaging and interactive public speaking courses in Manchester, Greater Manchester and the North West.
To improve your public speaking confidence, to create a Ted style speech and to master stage presence book onto one of our Public Speaking Courses In Manchester.