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Rehearsing: A Way to Eliminate Public Speaking Anxiety

Layne McDonald. Ph.D.

If you want to make enemies, try to change something. - Woodrow Wilson

I can give you a six-word formula for success: Think things through–then follow through. - Edward Rickenbacker

It is almost impossible for one to go through their adult life without having been asked to speak in public at least once.

You might have proposed a toast to a wedding or reported in front of a class. At work, you could have done an oral presentation for a promotion. Or you could have faced a group of interviewers before getting hired for the job you now have.

All these and more would require a person to get up and speak out in front of others.

This can either be a good or a terrible experience for the speaker.

In the United States, studies show that public speaking is one of the most common fears Americans have.

How do we cut this widespread public speaking anxiety?

The key is to face your fear, master your material, and rehearse.

Here are helpful tips on how you can use rehearsing to cut the fear of speaking in public:

1. Know your material.

Prepare an outline of your speech and look for bits of information that could be a significant point of interest.

Read about every aspect of the topic so that it will not be difficult for you to answer unexpected questions should they come up through the course of your discussion.

2. Have a “dress rehearsal” before the big day.

If you are making a formal presentation in a particular place, go to the venue a day or hours before the production to familiarize yourself with the surroundings.

If there is a rostrum, stand before it and assess the height. Make the necessary adjustments so the audience can see you as a speaker.

This is also an enjoyable time to check out the equipment you need for your presentation.

Create charts and photos for a slide presentation to make your presentation more informative and exciting.

Time is also essential to have a run-through of the entire speech and record your voice while doing so. This would give you an idea of how long it will run. The recording will also reveal the focal points where you can vary your tone of voice for a livelier speech.

It is also a great idea to tape yourself or have somebody do it for you while you are rehearsing your actual speech.

Review the video and look for ways to improve your overall presentation.

Practice makes perfect, so it is essential to rehearse before giving out that all-important oral presentation and help reduce your public speaking anxiety.

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