By Gina Salerno, Account Coordinator, R&J Public Relations
Glossophobia. You can’t avoid it. It’s a 3-credit course at your college, the maid of honor or best man duty, and a corporate staple if you want to advance in your career. Your palms start to sweat and your face, inevitably, gets red. According to most studies, it is a phobia that is most common in students and young adults. What is glossophobia? It is the fear of public speaking.
Public speaking reaches into the depths of fear in most people, and that fear can be difficult to overcome. As a PR professional, I’ve accumulated some great pointers on how to build and deliver a speech. With these helpful hints, you’ll be much better prepared, and hopefully overcome much of your glossophobia in no time.
- Do your research. The best way to look knowledgeable about the topic is to BE knowledgeable about the topic. Be prepared to answer any questions your speech may bring up in your audience’s mind. There is no such thing as being “too prepared.”
- Know your audience. If you are speaking to a room full of a specific group of people, make sure your topic caters to the interest of your audience. If your topic is of no concern to them, you might as well be speaking to a wall.
- Create an outline. A great way to break up your speech is to dissect it. Breaking your topic into an outline allows you to cover all the subjects you want to cover in your speech in an efficient manner.
- Write the speech like you would speak in a normal conversation. Inserting words that you would not typically use in your everyday speaking will sometimes make you tongue tied. Construct the speech with a word flow you feel you would normally use. Writing a speech like a term paper will make it sound like a term paper. This brings me to the next point…
- Read out loud and practice.Reading out loud can help to point out any grammatical mistakes or a statement that does not flow properly. It also helps you to gauge a time frame of how long the speech is, and how you need to edit it. Moreover, practicing builds confidence in your speech and allows you to shake out all the kinks before getting in front of a crowd.
- Don’t procrastinate. Procrastination is everyone’s worst enemy. Nothing is worse than standing in front of a crowd unprepared, as well as wasting time listening to a speaker who is unprepared. Do a little bit of the speech every day and practice what you have. New inspiration may hit for each day you contribute to the speech.
Speeches are only as hard as you make them. They could be tedious and dull or fun and interesting. By following these simple tips, the process will be easier. With practice, you can become a public speaking pro in no time!