By now you must have realized that in order for your business to succeed, you need to warm up to the reality that you have to speak to people and you have to do it a lot. If there is a product, a service, or an idea that you know will greatly help people solve their problems and satisfy their needs, you just have to find a way to let them know, even if it means speaking in public. Moreover, this is precisely why you know you just have to present that webinar you have been planning to host.

But wait, you fear public speaking? The truth is that three out of every four people on the planet experience fear of public speaking – and that includes speaking online in front of hundreds of watchful eyes. Although the degree of anxiety varies from one person to another, studies cannot deny the fact that the fear of public speaking is in fact sometimes greater than the fear of facing death. Public speaking is no easy task, and it could indeed feel like dying a thousand times over whenever the necessity presents itself even to the most seasoned public speakers.

To speak in public feels like you are out in the open and facing up to a pack of wolves without any weapon. It is a scenario from where human survival instincts developed, and over time, the human race developed fear as a reaction to such situations in order to fight and survive. However, what happens when there really is a necessity to speak in public so you could get your wonderful message across? What happens when you need to present a webinar so you could share important content to the public?

There really is no other way but to overcome your fear of public speaking, right? You just have to bite the bullet and present your webinar. You ask, is it easy to do? I would like to say yes, but for some it can be difficult. However, the question is, could it be done? Well, yes, of course, especially if you follow these simple techniques to deal with your public speaking fears as a webinar presenter.


Get the worst fear out of the way

Doing something for the first time is always the most difficult part, and the same holds true when you are trying to overcome your fear of public speaking. Ask yourself this: Would you spend your life running away from your fear or would you rather tackle the worst head on? The winning mindset is of course to get your baptism of fire, so to speak, finished. Prolonging the agony of thinking about how awful your first webinar presentation might be neither helps you deal squarely with your fear nor lets you improve on your public speaking skills.

The fear of public speaking is often inflated because it becomes all consuming. We weave doomsday scenarios around public speaking even if most of them are unfounded and exist only in the realm of our imagination. How would you know that you are not a great speaker if you have never done it? Truth is, you just have to do it the first time to realize that your fears are not reality, and that you can be a great presenter once you start firing away presentation after presentation. So take action, and make that first webinar presentation.


Prepare and know your material by heart

Nothing will alleviate your fear of speaking before the public more than knowing that you are completely prepared and know what you are actually going to say and do. Prepare your outline and your presentation aids well ahead of time. By presentation aids, I mean a visually appealing and evocative PowerPoint presentation that does not overwhelm your audience with endless bullet points but something that visually aids them to understand your point.

Fully grasp your message and master the sequence of how you will present it through your slides. Visualize your presentation and think ahead of how you will enunciate the key messages of your speech. Rehearse it aloud several times until you get the hang of verbalizing your thought processes. To help with fear rehearse in front of family or friends.
Do whatever it takes to learn the material and know it by heart but never memorize your speech. Yes, you read that right, practice but don’t memorize. If you try to memorize your speech, chances are you will get lost in the middle of a sentence and you will feel fear creeping up into you even more. The real pros of public speaking know their material by heart because they familiarize themselves completely with the key points and the subtopics of their presentation and they leave room for spontaneous thoughts or reactions to situations that arise through the presentation. This also helps to have a more conversational style, instead of sounding like a robot, which can occur with complete memorization. Concentrate on your message but be the best conversationalist that you could possibly be.



Which brings us to this point about maintaining a modicum of spontaneity to your presentation. Think of your webinar presentation as more of a conversation you are having with your audience rather than a script that you are delivering as you would onstage. Consider your webinar presentation not as a theater performance where you act out your part but more like a conversation with your audience to win them over and inspire them to action.

Public speaking should not feel far from having a long conversation with another person. You have to keep yourself interested and be interesting. Use words or phrases to guide your audience as you would guide a friend with whom you are having a serious and lengthy discussion. Spice up your speech with phrases that show your human side, like an anecdote or a sharing of your personal interests, without being overbearing and still maintaining your air of expertise on your subject matter.

Use hand gestures and facial expressions (remember that these are just about the parts of yourself that your audience see on their screen) to make your speech come to life, but don’t overdo things that distract your audience from listening to your message. Communicating with your audience as you are carrying out a real conversation with them also helps you overcome your fear of the public to whom you are speaking. Perceiving your presentation from a conversational standpoint versus a lecture one can also help to relax you and alleviate fear.


Bottom line

Public speaking could be a difficult and potentially fearsome endeavor to just about anybody. The way to deal with it and overcome your fear is really to re-frame your mindset that your audience is not your adversary and that you could be a great public speaker with the right dose of preparation and attitude. Last words of advice, feel the fear, but do it anyway!

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Posted by Agnes Jozwiak

Agnes is the Brand & Communication Director at ClickMeeting.

Time to move your events online. Do it with ClickMeeting


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