Do you ever have difficulty speaking in front of others? Do you dread meetings and presentations in which you know you’ll be called on to speak?
Does your heart rate climb, throat close up, and palms get slick with sweat when you envision public speaking?
If so, don’t worry. You’re not alone. In fact, nearly 75% of us suffer from speech anxiety — or, fear of public speaking.
If you’re looking to conquer your fear of speaking out in front of others, there are many avenues you can pursue to improve your communication skills. Public speaking classes are just one of many options available to you, but they are by far one of the most effective.
What Are Public Speaking Classes?
Public speaking classes are a form of structured training that helps people improve their speaking skills and become more effective, powerful communicators.
Public speaking classes come in a variety of forms, from in-person classes that meet once every few weeks, to distance education courses you can take online. There are even audiobooks you can listen to with recorded public speaking classes broken down by lesson, so you can practice your communication skills on the go!
Public speaking classes may sound intimidating at first, but they’re much more approachable than you’d imagine. Many who attend public speaking classes are just as nervous about speaking in front of others as you are!
But that’s the beauty of it. When you can learn together and support one another on your journey toward better, more effective communication, everybody wins.
Who Are Public Speaking Classes For?
Public speaking classes are for anyone and everyone that wants to improve their communication skills.
Public speaking is a common fear, and believe it or not, many have some form of speaking or social anxiety. Public speaking classes help people conquer fears, become more confident speakers, and improve their methods of communication and delivery.
Who might sign up for public speaking classes? Well, anyone!
A student with social anxiety might be inclined to join some public speaking classes. A business executive that wants to become better at conversing with clients may sign on. There’s no end to the variety of interesting and compelling people you might meet at public speaking classes. But together, you’ll be able to support one another in your mutual goal of becoming more effective communicators.
The Benefits Of Public Speaking Classes
Effective public speaking classes have many tangible and intangible benefits for those who sign on. Whether you elect to try a class in-person, or simply wish to listen to a few recorded lessons of an audiobook, trying a public speaking class can enable your path to success.
Here are just a few of the benefits public speaking classes offer:
- Overcoming social anxiety
- Confidence building
- Increased conversational skills
- Increased self-esteem
- New social connections
- More effective communication
While public speaking classes will certainly help you at work, at school, and at home, they will also lead you to meet people with similar interests that align with your own. Public speaking classes will also give you an integral boost of confidence and self-esteem that you can then carry forward with you into all future endeavors.
Becoming a better communicator means becoming a more confident, empowered individual.
4 Public Speaking Tips To Build Your Confidence
If you’d like to take some effective public speaking classes, look into what’s available for you locally. There are usually community-run programs you can sign up for. If you’re lucky, there may be some seminars or course programs offered for free.
You can also watch public speaking lessons online, or download audiobooks with lessons you can listen to at your leisure. Be sure to explore your options and find what works for you.
If you’d like a few ways you can begin improving your communication skills right here, right now, then try a few of these effective public speaking tips:
1. Be prepared for public speaking
Have you ever heard that the best offense is a good defense? This holds especially true for public speaking.
The more you’re able to prepare for your public speaking event, the better. No matter the occasion — meeting, presentation, speech — being well prepared will help you feel confident, composed, and ready to go.
Rehearse what you’re going to say. Know your subject well. Prepare for any questions that may be asked. Have your notes written on cards to prompt you if you get stuck.
Do anything and everything you can to ensure that you’re prepared before you speak. The act of preparing for the event will instill a powerful boost of confidence.
2. Slow down your delivery
When we’re nervous, it shows, and not just in our pounding hearts and sweaty palms. Nervous speakers tend to speak rapidly, and trying to decipher what’s being said can turn into a confusing, befuddling challenge for the audience.
Do yourself a favor and slow down. Take a deep breath before you begin to speak. Compose your thoughts. Internally remind yourself: slow down, slow down, slow down.
Speak at a pace slow enough that you’re not tripping over your words. The act of slowing your delivery will keep you focused and relaxed. Instead of rushing your way through your speech, hurtling toward the end of the presentation at a breakneck pace, try to take your time.
You’ll notice the difference in the way you feel as you’re speaking, and your audience will notice too.
3. Change your fearful perspective
Overcoming our fears is oftentimes a matter of challenging our preconceived notions and perspectives.
Many of us, when struggling with social or speech anxiety, tend to frame ideas of public speaking in terms of what frightens us or makes us nervous.
We don’t like speaking in front of others because it makes us uncomfortable. We’re anxious. Nervous. Afraid.
However, what if you tried reframing those same states as something slightly different? Simply tweaking the ideas that surround public speaking — just a little —so that they turn into something else. Fear becomes excitement. Nervousness becomes anticipation.
Instead of saying public speaking makes us nervous, we can say that public speaking makes us excited. Believe it or not, many of the physiological indicators for excitement mirror those of nervousness.
It’s all a matter of perspective.
4. Be honest, genuine, and personal
Of all the effective public speaking tips, this one is perhaps the most important.
Effective public speaking, at its heart, is all about connecting with others. You want to be able to reach other people in a way that your message sticks. Whatever it is you’re talking about, you must find a way to help others connect to the topic or issue at hand.
The best way to do this? Be honest, and don’t shy away from getting vulnerable. People connect more easily with others when they’re being open, honest and genuine. If you’re trying too hard to sell something, or come off as deceitful or manipulative, people will pick up on it.
Tell the honest to goodness truth. Stick to the facts, but don’t be afraid to be real. Try telling a personal story or providing anecdotal evidence to help your cause. People will empathize with your message more if they can connect to you on an intimate, personal level.