By Vicki Salemi for KnowMore.tv
Have you ever gotten that sinking deer-in-headlights feeling in front of a podium? Or, have you tried to picture an entire audience in their underwear? You're not alone with glossophobia, also known as the fear of public speaking, which apparently affects 75 percent of the population. Let's explore how you can overcome this common phobia.
1. Visit the location ahead of time
Even if you're familiar with the conference room, visit it when it's empty and test the equipment. Envision yourself at the podium commanding the room. Imagine a successful presentation; positive thoughts will decrease speaking anxiety.
2. Organize your material inside and out
How are you delivering the content? What props, audio or visual aids do you need? What is the goal of the presentation? The more prepared you are, like creating an outline on an index card and anticipating questions from the audience, the less nervous you'll be.
3. Practice, practice, practice
If the thought of giving a presentation is too daunting, start small. Videotape yourself and watch it, then muster up the courage to speak in front your family and friends. Attend a local chapter of Toastmasters International and face fear in the face.
4. Focus on breathing
If your voice starts to shake and knees get wobbly, focus on being present in the moment as your breath calms you down. You can practice in a yoga or meditation class or even informally by inhaling and exhaling for five long breaths. Your only job is to inhale and exhale. Remember Mr. Miyagi from The Karate Kid: "Don't forget to breathe, very important."