Everybody has had to face some sort of fear in their lives. For some it may be learning to drive; sleeping with the light off (yes, adults can be scared of the dark too) or something considered fun by some, such as skydiving. Others may have to had to face fears a lot harsher than these, but whatever they are, a fear is a fear.
Facing Your Fears
I have a lot of fears. I think most people do but don’t realise it. Even if they seem strong. I don’t remember all of my fears but I know one of them is public speaking. And I have to face this fear tomorrow…I have an interview for a CELTA course, which is basically to teach English as a foreign language. One of the requirements for the interview is to do a 5 minute presentation to a small group. I know you may be thinking, but you want to be a teacher, so surely you are the kind of person who likes to speak in front of many, many groups? Well, no. I am aware that this is the case, yes; prepared, yes – scared? Yes!
I believe that if a person wants to succeed in life, they need to overcome certain fears. My fear is public speaking but I believe that If I throw myself in the deep end, I will overcome it. With a lot of practise and hopefully encouragement from the group, If i’m accepted, I can do this.
How will I overcome my fear of public speaking?
Planning and practise
With practise! If you are planning a speech, you need to make sure you have planned and practised your speech several times beforehand. At least that’s one less thing to worry about.
Use powerpoint to make a slideshow if you think this will help.
Be the speaker
Many psychologists such as Dr Carbonell from Anxiety Coach have suggested that in order to face your fear, you need to want to be the speaker. I know this sounds strange because isn’t that what we don’t want? Well no, maybe you need to pretend at first, but the more you commit and try to enjoy the speaking, the less you will panic.
I will aim to slow down my speech and pause when necessary. I have been told in interview feedbacks before that I have spoken too quickly as I appeared nervous. This is me wanting the process to be over. Dr Carbonell suggests that you need to stop thinking that you want it to be over as this will create a barrier between you and the audience: they won’t enjoy it anymore and this will heigten your fear even more.
Make eye contact with your audience and pretend you are enjoying it, and perhaps the enjoyment will slowly become real. Trick your brain!
Don’t hide your fear
This is my favourite and most useful tip. Don’t hide your fear. This is something I tend to do. I like to appear confident but I think this makes me appear more nervous. It’s okay to feel nervous. I think most speakers do really.
All these tips I will be trying out tomorrow. I hope they work! I will let you know at some point if they do! And wish me luck.
Have you faced a fear recently? What did you do to overcome it?