STAGE PLIGHT: Can’t speak in public? Try being more prepared

Pinpointing exactly why you can’t muster up the courage to speak in front of a crowd might not be quite as simple as just connecting a few dots. It might be even harder to figure out especially if the topic at hand is one you’re incredibly comfortable discussing.

Fear of public speaking knows no boundaries, and even the most astute person or someone deemed an expert in their field still might not be quite ready to deliver the goods and dish out the kind of speech that leaves them wanting more.

Even if they feel like they know everything there is no know about the subject on tap.

One of the more underrated skills in toppling your trepidation in regard to public speaking also is one of the more obvious: preparation.

That suggestion may seem a bit odd, but still is remarkably applicable even if you’ve been deemed an expert in your field. Just because you know your subject matter inside and out won’t necessarily translate into a tremendous speech. Preparation is more than just knowing your topic but also includes the timeless art of practicing the speech in front of a mirror and knowing places within that talk where you want to pause, look at your audience or stay focused on your note cards or prompter.

There’s nothing wrong with taping yourself delivering this speech and watching it a few times to get your timing down pat.

One of the more underutilized practices includes actually writing out the speech and doing so with specific cues noted accordingly. Think of it like stage directions if you were writing a script or play. Those documents tell actors and performers where to walk or how to look in order to convey an emotion.

Why can’t a speech be written in that same mold? That is type of prep work that often matters the most when you’re talking about a subject matter that you know extremely well. The other aspect of piecing together a speech worth your intelligence is to not overly complicate the person to crowd chat with too much rhetoric or jargon, unless your audience is such that warrants specific, industry words and phrases.

If you’re speaking to fellow industry personnel, then feel free to let the insider terms roll.

But if you’re delivering to a generic, nondescript audience, keep the language simple and casual. That also will put you at ease if you know exactly what to say and how to frame the speech to fit accordingly.

Going into something as paramount as a speech shouldn’t be a blind endeavor. Planning appropriately puts you in control, keeps your fear at bay and your audience on your side as you successfully slay the majority of your public speaking shortcomings.