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HOME::Presentation Tips

Top 7 Causes of Stress in Public Speaking

By Dennis Kwan

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Public speaking is a common source of stress in the modern workplace. Whether you work alone or with large numbers of people, the chances are great that you will need to speak in public at some point no matter how much you might wish to avoid the experience.

If your project or career goals include taking a leadership role in your organization, you will almost certainly need to speak regularly to groups, large and small, on your road to achieving them. Here are ten common causes of public speaking anxiety, stress and some tips for avoiding them.

  1. Believing that public speaking is naturally stressful.

    Public speaking need not be stressful at all. If you correctly understand the causes of public speaking stress and take care to address them, with practice speaking in public will become an stimulating and satisfying experience for you.

  2. Having the wrong objectives.

    Public speaking is about having an effect on your audience - to educate, motivate or persuade them. This is where your focus and purpose should be. Concentrate on what will benefit your audience, not yourself.

  3. Trying to cover too much material.

    Don't try to accomplish too much in the time you are given. Instead, be realistic with your speech objectives given the time you are allocated.

  4. Accept the fear, donít fight it.

    The worst thing you can do when youíre nervous is to notice your own anxiety and start worrying about that too. Just accept any nervousness you feel just as you would accept that the carpet is blue or the walls are white. Trying to force yourself to calm down or hide signs of nervousness can backfire and make your problem worse.

  5. Trying to emulate or imitate other speakers.

    You've likely attended more than a few events where you've listened to professional speakers or trainers give a presentation. Don't be stressed up and make the mistake of trying to duplicate or clone their speaking style. Instead, simply be yourself. This will allow you to concentrate your full attention on your material and your audience.

  6. Failing to be personally revealing and humble.

    Telling personal stories to illustrate your points can have a profound impact on your audience and their receptiveness to your message. However, few things will isolate an audience more quickly than arrogance. Instead, be humble when speaking about yourself and your achievements and experiences.

  7. Practice.

    For every successful oratorical activity, there are three things a speaker has to put in mind: first is practice, second, practice, and third practice again. No one can underestimate the power of a constant yet effective speaking drill. This helps you memorize your lines and master them paving the way to creating adlibs as you go along the way.

Dennis Kwan is a trainer, speaker, author, a volunteer at Changi prison. He is a Neuro-Linguistics Programming (NLP) Master Practitioner and a Time-line Practitioner. He graduated with a Bachelor Degree in Commerce in Information Technology. He is also certified in Project Management Professional (PMP) and Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL), Certified ISO 9001:2000 Auditor.


Article Submitted On: October 26, 2008