Your palms start to sweat. Your body is trembling, and your heart is beating about a billion beats per second. You're thinking to yourself, "Please don't pick me next, please!" The man behind the podium takes no mercy. You look out at the 100 pair of eyes staring at you.
Did you know that public speaking ranked the number one fear, over the fear of cancer, heights, and even death? Unbelievable. Public speaking is everywhere. In first grade they put you in an ugly flower costume and made you sing a stupid little song about photosynthesis. Then, in sixth grade, you had to do a power point on Pearl Harbor in front of your class. There's no getting around it, so why not suck it up and get it over with? Your audience probably won't remember you or anything you say, anyway.
One reason that people hate public speaking is because they are afraid of looking foolish, or they're scared that they might mess up. Questions like "How does my hair look?", "What if they don't like me?", and "What if I forget what I'm supposed to say?" could make anyone nervous, really. What I'd say is to just calm down. Well, obviously if the audience didn't care what you're talking about, they wouldn't have showed up, now would they? :) So, you already know that they're there for you and they want to hear what you have to say. Just give it your best shot and don't worry about what they're thinking about you. As long as what you're saying makes sense, you have nothing to worry about.
Oh and of course, you're still probably fretting about the fact that all eyes are on you. Everyone in the room is staring at you. Watching you as you tremble and stumble over your words. What should you do? Stand up and stare back. This shows them that you're not afraid and you're ready to say what you have to say. As you're saying your speech, or whatever, you should look up from your papers every now and then and hold eye contact with someone in your audience for at least five seconds. This makes you feel more powerful (or is that just me?). You'll be staring at them and they'll get all scared an look away, and you'll have this feeling of self accomplishment. Haha.
If you have to memorize your speech, make sure you spend as much time as you can to study your words. Practice standing in front of a mirror and repeat your speech over and over until you get it right. If you're like me and you can't do things like this on your own to save your life, you could practice with a friend or two and one friend could help you memorize your words, and you could practice saying them to the other. This way, you'll have your lines down, and you'll be practicing your speaking at the same time.
Lastly, if you have to stand behind a podium, then do not death grip. You know you're death gripping it while you are talking, you find your nails digging into the sides of the podium. The podium didn't do anything to you and whoever owns the podium will probably demand a new one, free of your death gripping marks. Also, don't become one with the podium. This includes leaning on it, or using it as an arm rest. Finally, don't sway or rock side to side. This causes a distraction, especially if your audience has a short attention span. To prevent this, you should stand with your feet shoulder length apart and keep your arms by your side.
If you are a victim of public speaking, then I hope that this article helped with your phobia. If not, then you can always seek help from a voice coach. :)