Updated: Aug 31
Public speaking for many can be really frustrating and terrifying. And at one point or another, we've all probably experienced sharing information to others in the form of public speaking.
How did you feel when you first stepped in front of an audience? Did you also have sleepless nights prior that day? Did you experience the uncontrollable butterflies in your stomach while in the limelight?
If you answered yes the these questions, then you belong to the estimated 73% of the population who has glossophobia, the experience of anxiety during speaking in public.
Glossophobia is most likely to emerge from fear that others might have negative remarks on you. The fear of negative judgments could be about your appearance, tone of voice, mastery of speech and content, as well as the value of information you are sharing with them.
Although it is undeniable that not all can comfortably deliver public speeches, there are some misconceptions about public speaking that should be addressed.
Myths About Public Speaking
1 Good public speakers are born.
If all the people in the world would think that the best abilities are inherited or are just God-given gifts upon birth (innate talents), then we could have been living among lazy and undetermined generations of people who have no passion for creativity and innovation.
But that is certainly not the case. We are all endowed with the ability to reach our highest potentials together with hard work, passion, proper planning, investment in education or learning, and many others that hone our knowledge and skills.
And this idea does not exclude public speaking.
2 Continued practicing alone will boost your public speaking skills.
Certainly, practicing is an indispensable factor in gaining superb skills.
Are you familiar with the 10,000 hour rule?
Malcolm Gladwell, the author of the best-selling Outliers: The Story of Success has mentioned about 10,000 hours of practice as "the magic number of greatness". And that number cannot be achieved in a short span of time.
Although this can be true, practice isn't the only ingredient to develop a superb skill in any field of endeavor (e.g. music, sports, arts, etc).
For an instance, another critical element is mentorship. You must look for somebody with extensive knowledge and experience in public speaking to mentor you. This will ensure that you're doing it right during your practice hours.
Practicing without getting inadequacies corrected is quite useless.
3 Public speaking is all about good delivery of speech.
Excellent grammar, high emotional words, persuasive tone of voice, and confident aura are what we commonly perceive as what characterize a good speech.
Although good delivery of speech is undeniably important in making great impression among your audience, it shouldn't be the sole focus of your preparation effort.
Equally important is the content. Create a speech that is clear, informative, interesting, and relevant or with a sense of purpose. Your speech must be able to create a sense of urgency to take heed among your listeners.
Your content will primarily influence your audience's desire to listen to your voice during public speaking.
4 The best way to speak in public is to read the speech.
I'm pretty sure that you have observed many public speakers reading their speech in front of an audience. Although there's nothing wrong with having a guide (or actually reading your speech), this isn't the best way to do public speaking.
Consistent eye contact, for an instance, is being interrupted as you glance away from your listeners. And eye contact is a powerful element in creating a strong connection with your audience.
Public speaking is an artful communication process that requires spontaneity, and reading your speech, instead of fully focusing your attention to your audience, somehow creates a gap.
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