The Speaking Scaries - Managing a Fear of Public Speaking at School



Glossophobia, stage fright, social anxiety... I don’t think I’ve ever met a single person that hasn’t experienced that feeling of complete dread before a performance. For a lucky few, it comes and goes with different performances and they are able to just push through it. But for a large portion of the population that fear is crippling. Unfortunately, I’ve also never met a person who manages to completely avoid public speaking in all its various forms. This is where The Speaking Scaries Series comes in. We’ll be exploring the ins and outs of public speaking. No, you probably won’t fall in love with speaking, and that’s okay. But hopefully you’ll be able to walk a little taller as you approach the stage.




Preparation


We all know that being prepared ahead of time can reduce stress. But that’s not the type of preparation I want to talk about. Instead I want you to think about how your speech is written. If you are someone who often forgets what they want to say, or can’t quite find the right words, I suggest you write your speech as a script. Write out every word you want to say, and give yourself speaking and stage directions. Mark your pauses, when you look up, even your hand gestures. Then memorize it and have notes. Be careful with your notes, you don't want them to cover your face and you still have to look at your audience. Make the font nice and big so you can hold your notes at belly button height and still read them, find out if you have a lectern for standard A4 paper, or will you need to make cue cards instead. You could also place a trusted person or two in the audience so you can look at them and have a reassuring smile looking back. Alternatively, pick a spot on the back wall just about people's heads. Most people aren't observant enough to notice you're not looking at anyone. If Beyonce can get away with it, so can you.



Practice