Just like people fear contracting diseases,fear of darkness, and/or fear of dying,the fear associated with speaking in the public or before an audience is one that greatly threaten youths,especially students between ages 18 and 28, and even higher in some countries according to statistics.

At one time or the other in your life,you may have the need to stand before an audience to air your views on policies and programmes. As a student,you should be conversant with this as you are expected to present your assignments or researches before your classmates. On the other hand,you will also at one time or the other, stand before professors to defend your project.

Whether you are a student or not, its time you embrace the realities on ground. You dont have to wait for an upcoming presentation before you start grooming and preparing yourself. This brings us to the major determinant of one's performance at public speeches. This is anxiety.

I'm sure that you may have experienced both professors, activists, colleagues and even teachers who fail at following even the simplest rules of public speaking. You may have the knowledge but you will also need the skills to send across this knowledge to your audience in a convincing manner. But unfortunately, many of us allow anxiety to take over our ability to comport ourselves and to deliver a convincing speech before our audience. This is where stage fright sets in.

Anxiety and how it affects your performance at public speaking.

Anxiety is a mental state characterised by feelings of worry, ,tension,physical body changes like increased blood pressure,heart beat or fear of an expected event in one's life. Sometimes,anxiety can be strong enough to interfere with one's normal daily functioning/activities. At this peak level,it can be referred to as a mental disorder.

Feelings of anxiety are not only normal but necessary for survival as they get you prepared to fight off whatever that threatens your ability to function normally or standing between your ability to achieve a goal. The goal in this context could mean delivering that convincing and flawless presentation.

Anxiety about being hit by a car when crossing the street, for example, means that a person will instinctively look both ways to avoid danger. This same theory applies to public speaking. You get anxious so as to prepare well to deliver a beautiful presentation. So,quit seeing anxiety as one huge mental disorder but begin to see it as a factor motivating you to do it better.

Now, in order to perform well before an audience,you must carry out the following simple tasks as we have highlighted below.

1. Preparation: Many people think that they'd just stand up and deliver a flawless presentation without preparing, rehearsing or looking at any notes. This talent is rare. Practice beforehand. Present infront of a mirror,make notes and use a calm,relaxed reassuring voice. Practice makes perfect.

2: Body language: Don't go walking around the stage like you want to pee just like some primary school pupils would do during their recitations. Use gestures,better still, have a pen in between your fingers. It helps you take notes at intervals. Note that this note taking also gives you the opportunity to calm down and continue. Don't lean on the desk. Laugh at your own jokes. Smile and smile often.
Look at them. Look your audience straight in the eyes until they look away. The stage belongs to you. Look at them at first and subsequently, or at intervals,look above their heads or blankly at no one in particular. This gives you charge of the stage.

3: Don't keep repeating same words over again: Find synonyms or alternate words instead of repeating same words or phrases over again. Doing so will make it look like you have lost touch with your presentation or you struggling to find the right words to use.

4: Time management: Use your time well. Don't bore your audience with unnecessary details. Don't dwell too long on an issue. Hit the nail on the head and flee.

A follower on Twitter tweeted asking people for advise as she was to embark on a public lecture/presentation.
Take a look at her tweet and subsequent responses.

Below are screenshots of advice she got from her followers including my humble self. 

Public speaking is a skill,an enviable skill and one of the most demanded and useful skills you ought to possess no matter the job you do. It doesn't  take much to perfect this art, but people really do not take it serious. The sooner you begin to take it serious,the better for you.

Watch presentations by Barack Obama, former US president, and Nigeria's Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo. They are role models in public speaking.

Feel free to share this with your friends, family, colleagues and loved ones. They must not embarrass you in the public. Help build their confidence at public speaking by just using the share buttons below.

Thank you.