Did you know that most people would rather die than speak in front of an audience? One survey found that almost 3 out of 4 people are more afraid of public speaking than jumping off a cliff! It's crazy, but true. The fact that most of us are terrified at the thought of public speaking should be a consolation knowing that it's quite normal to get that awful feeling of anxiety before giving a public speech. Even the best speakers in the world experience fear prior to speaking publicly. They're just able to overcome it so that they can speak effectively.
If knowing that other speakers are just as frightened as you are doesn't provide comfort, try uncovering the root of your fear. In most instances, people's fears about public speaking are based on misinformation as well as false expectations about the roles of the speaker and the audience. Once you understand the truth about public speaking, you'll be able to rise above your fears and deliver your next speech with style and grace.
Just think what would have happened if people like John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Gandhi would have kept their wonderful ideas to themselves? The world would never have gotten the full benefit of their knowledge. The same is true for you.
As you move in different circles you'll notice that public speaking will become a necessity for the most basic social settings. At church, you may get asked to read the announcements or to raise funds for a cause you're involved in. At work, your supervisors may ask you to make presentations on their behalf or update them on projects you are working on. If you can't speak effectively in those settings your career advancement will be seriously limited. Also, you won't be able to make a difference in your own business or community if you can't be an effective public speaker.
You'll soon realize that becoming a successful public speaker is no longer an option. It is a requirement. To truly make your mark on the world you must sharpen and perfect your public speaking skills. Giving way to your anxieties is no excuse for having a meltdown at the podium. The audience expects you to have some fear of speaking, but they also expect you to rise to the occasion.
That said; there are a few things that you can do to prepare for your public speaking engagements. This Public Speaking Guidebook focuses on the long list of factors that, when implemented, will ensure that your speeches are consistently enlightening, effective and (when necessary) entertaining.