Andy Core is an expert in Work-Life Balance, Well Being and Peak Human Performance.
Every public speaker has felt some form of stage fright, even a professional speaker would admit to that. Whether it be the fear of making errors or shyness, there’s always a way to get over it. What people miss about public speaking is that it’s not about making a perfect word-for-word recitation of your written speech, it’s about getting your point across to an audience. They’re not listening to witness how great you are at memorizing, but listening to learn something. Get your point of view across, not your word count. This need for unneeded perfection is the most common source of anxiety and here’s how to control it.
Being a Master of Your Topic Is Better Than Memorizing a Speech
The reason for creating a speech is to have a guideline on what to say and in what order. There’s no need to take it to the extreme and imprint every word in their exact order into your head. Mastering your topic is a lot easier and more useful as you’ll never run out of things to say and you won’t need the speech to tell you what to say. If you know the topic like the back of your hand, you can ad-lib easily and not worry so much about your guidelines. A professional speaker doesn’t mind his speech when he’s on stage because he doesn’t need to and neither do you.
Practice Only As Much As You Need To
Practicing your speech is important so that you can add style and flare to your words. This is to prevent moments where you stutter or suddenly fall silent. It’s unnecessary to burn yourself out with hours upon hours of practice, even when you’re backstage waiting for your call. In fact, it’s possible to over-practice and hurt your performance. This is because you didn’t have enough time to…
The people you’re speaking to aren’t judges; it isn’t American Idol. You won’t be booed because of little mechanical mistakes and they don’t have a criteria to base your speech on. Besides, you’re the only one who has a copy of your speech so how will they notice the lines you left out or the words you didn’t say? Just relax and be moderate: over-practicing just causes stress.
Give your voice and eyes a rest, preparing your mind and body for a speech is just as important as performing well. Fear and anxiety are mostly self-created so don’t stress yourself out about the little things. Use the advice of a professional speaker and be more prepared and more confident when you get on stage.
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