By Collin Shamley
If you are like me, you probably hate public speaking. There is something that speaking in front of a crowd that makes certain people terrified. Some people hate when all the attention in a room is centered on them. Like everything else, public speaking takes practice especially if you aren’t comfortable speaking in front of crowds.
One thing that might help with speaking anxiety is desensitization training. Often used to conquer phobias, desensitization involves exposing yourself to the thing you’re afraid of continuously, in manageable doses. The key is to expose yourself to your fear in small doses and then gradually increase. If you have to give a speech in front of 100 people, start with a group of 10, and then progressively increase as you get more comfortable.
I used to downplay the importance of public speaking, especially as someone who believed my future career would involve minimal face-to-face dialogue. Take book writing for example: You might think that writing would be a solitary endeavor, but it turns out that a big part of writing books is speaking. To sell books you need to talk to people about your ideas. This applies to selling yourself in general.
For great public speakers, talking in front of crowds seems natural. In reality, few people are naturals at public speaking. Being “natural” comes from practice, which really shouldn’t be a surprise. The more you get in front of people, the better you will be at it. Lastly, you have to believe in what you’re saying before you try to convince your audience.
Quiet by Susan Cain