Do you have a fear of presentations or public speaking?

By Morag Barrett on April 17, 2012

Posted by Morag Barrett | April 17, 2012Do you have a fear of presentations or public speaking?Apparently most Americans fear public speaking over death.   I was listening to the comedy channel on a flight recently, the comedian was discussing this statistic and wryly observed that the implication was “that most people would rather be in the coffin at a funeral rather than giving the eulogy!!”.   It may be an old joke but it made me laugh at the time.  However, if you are one of the majority who shudder at the idea of having to present to a group of people then it is no laughing matter. The good news is… keep reading, the next few blog posts will help you overcome your fear of public speaking.  For those of you who don’t have a phobia of public speaking, read on, we hope to share some best practices and tips that will help you take your presentation skills to the next level.The first piece of good news is that presenting or public speaking is a skill.  In the same way as you practice to improve at a sport or any other activity, effective communication and presentation skills can be developed.  However, since we all ’communicate’ everyday it is all to easy to assume it is something we either have or don’t have and we tend not to give the time and effort required to improve and build on the fundamental skill and confidence that we have (or don’t have) in this area.You have a choice.  You can choose to learn to manage the nerves (more on those later) and overcome your fear, to more effectively and creatively deliver your message, or you can let your nerves manage you.Lets start with a simple exercise, grab a piece of paper and a pen and create two columns:In the first write down the characteristics of the worst presentations you have seen.In the second column write down the characteristics of the best presentations you have seen.What is it about either that makes them memorable for you?  Are there things about the best that you can emulate now?  Anything on your ‘worst’ list that can avoid or stop doing immediately?Congratulations!! you have just taken the first step in improving your effectiveness as a public speaker.Over the next few postings I hope to share some best practices and ideas that will enable you to continue to grow your confidence to deliver effective presentations. I will also include links and recommend resources – feel free to let me know if you have any others that you have found useful or if you have any questions we can help answer.Related ArticlesPresentation Skills: Fear of Public Speaking - Dealing with Stage FrightAnyone who tells you that they are not nervous as they get up to deliver a presentation are either lying or haven’t prepared.  I have been presenting to large audiences and group events for over 15 years and I promise you that I still get nervous before I start. Those…June 19, 2012In "Emotional Intelligence"Presentation Skills: You've been asked to give a presentation - where do you start?I am regularly invited to speak at conferences and group events, it is always an exciting opportunity and one that takes time and focus to ensure success.  While I enjoy the opportunity for public speaking or facilitating presentations, I am often asked, how do you structure a presentation?  Where do you…April 24, 2012In "Presentation Skills"Presentation Skills: Your Call To ActionYou have a stunning opening for your presentation, your content is written, and I am sure that you have written the closing words for your presentation.  Go back and read it.  Does it have ’punch’? Does it include a clear 'call to action'?  I have had the opportunity to observe and…May 29, 2012In "Presentation Skills"Tags »fear of public speakingPresentation Skillspublic speaking Share
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