Dread public speaking? This is for you...

Your palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy – you’re about to speak in front of a large audience. Let’s be real here, public speaking is a skill that will come in handy to all of us. Whether it is for a pitch to colleagues or a presentation at university, you will have to do it at some point while you’re adulting. No matter how anxiety-inducing and stressful it can be. If you dread public speaking, like the most of us, read along as Sevin Pakbaz explains how to combat this anxiety!

Image Source:  Glutenfreespirited.com

Image Source: Glutenfreespirited.com

Be prepared

Nobody freestyles their speech. This is not rap, and you are not Tupac. Whoever you are and whatever kind of speech you are doing, you need to know your content. Even those Ted Talk speakers have researched their area of interest constantly, and are confident in the facts they are presenting. Know as much as you can about the topic you will be addressing before you jump onto the stage. This will definitely boost your confidence. There is nothing worse than going up there with no plan in mind. It’s okay to bring palm cards and dot points to read off. This type of guidance will help you remember your next point. If you are allowed, bring a PowerPoint. This will ensure that you have a screen to refer to if you can’t bring palm cards. Plus the PowerPoint may draw attention away from you while you speak!

Remember to breathe

If you hate public speaking, chances are, as soon as you walk onto the stage you will be dreading every second. You’ll promptly mumble through your speech, using a monotone and jump back down. But public speaking is an experience on its own. Instead of rushing through it, take your time. Remember to breathe, pace your words and vary your tone. This will calm down any shortness of breath and make you look composed. Public speaking is not a race, and controlling your breathing is the best way to prevent a shaky voice and stuttering.

Practice makes perfect

Like confidence, self-love and even exercise, your public speaking skills will only get better by practice. I know this is not what someone who dreads public speaking will want to hear but it is an undeniable truth. So practice speaking to a large audience. Take those university presentations seriously and have a go at perfecting the way you present in front of a crowd. Join competitions that will allow you to practice your speaking skills like debating, mooting or even MC an event that your society is running!

Public speaking will always be somewhat daunting; however, it is all about finding ways to cope with the anxieties that come with it. If worse comes to worse, you can always use the timeless method of imagining everyone in the audience in their underwear. That always works... right?

Sevin Pakbaz is a third year Journalism and Law student, who loves to blow her money on expensive vegan desserts. Her passion for true crime stories and volunteering keeps her occupied when she should be catching up on uni.