You step up to the podium and the fear settles in - your stomach twists and turns, the room begins to spin, your face goes red, your hands begin to shake...
Those are just a few of the many things a lot of us tend to experience when it's time to face the greatest fear of all: public speaking. Despite it being a necessary and useful skill in life, it isn't uncommon for most teens to struggle with the fear of public speaking. It even has its own phobia: glossophobia.
But, as the saying goes, it's time to face our fears. Let's look at how to be involved with public speaking, tips and its importance.
How do I even get started?
Once you finally decide to move forward with your plan of becoming an eloquent speaker, start looking for opportunities. The easiest way to practice daily is to simply volunteer to present in classes. When a group presentation is taking place, you will be the one who takes charge of standing in front of the class and steering the whole show.
Another fantastic way to get started is to become a National Speech and Debate Association (NSDA) member. Most high schools have a speech and debate club, where students are given the opportunity to compete weekly. NSDA is a highly recognized association and is the perfect place to learn and bridge connections. Students are able to choose events within the association they'd like to compete in for a chance to be on the national stage. Be forewarned, however, NSDA is one of the most competitive competitions for high schoolers, so the honor of making it to the national finals is tremendous.
Credit: samer daboul from Pexels
Fake it 'till you make it. There's nothing more appealing than a confident speaker. Stand tall, smile, and talk with confidence.
It's hard to be a good speaker if no one can tell what you're saying. Be willing to speak loudly, so that your voice can resonate throughout the whole entirety of the room.
3. Be Charismatic
There's something special and alluring about people with charm. Learn to smile while speaking and make eye contact with your audience. Don't look unsure of yourself. Smile and be yourself, you've got this!
4. Choose your topic wisely
Make sure to talk about something you're actually passionate about. Passion is key to writing an original and interesting speech and you will be able to speak with fire.
Why should I do this?
#1. Personal Growth
Credit: Su Casa Panamá at Pexels
Public speaking provides a valuable platform for personal growth and self-improvement. By speaking in front of an audience, you can enhance your communication skills, develop confidence, and overcome stage fright. Public speaking challenges you to articulate your thoughts clearly, think on your feet, and express your ideas with confidence. These skills are not only important in professional settings, but also in everyday life, enabling you to become a more effective communicator and, overall, a more confident individual.
By exposing yourself to more public speaking opportunities, you can transform your fear into an asset and a useful skill. As it is for most people, facing your fears may be frightening and scary. However, by doing so, you break the mental and emotional barriers, build resilience, and acquire a surge of personal empowerment.
"Facing your fears robs them of their power." Mark Burnett
#2 Interviews, presentations, and meetings... Oh my!
Credit: cottonbro studio at Pexels
Public speaking is highly regarded in many professional fields and schools. Delivering compelling presentations, leading meetings, and giving persuasive pitches are skills that can set you apart. Being a competent public speaker enhances your ability to convey your expertise and influence others with your ideas.
Throughout your life, you will be met with interviews and other speaking obligations. Public speaking will only help and make you more comfortable and persuasive in those positions. It can open doors to new internships, opportunities, careers, and leadership roles, as it demonstrates your ability to effectively communicate and connect with others.
#3 Impact and Influence
Credit: Mikhail Nilov at Pexels
Abraham Lincoln, Malala Yousafzai, Winston Churchill, Ronald Reagan, Martin Luther King Jr.
Despite having different causes and living in different eras, they all had one thing in common: their voices changed the world.
Public speaking provides a platform to share knowledge, experiences, insight, and ideas with an audience. It gives you the opportunity to inspire, motivate, and influence others through your words and stories. By delivering powerful speeches or presentations, you can raise awareness about important issues, drive positive change, and advocate for causes. Public speaking enables you to connect with people, share your passion, and leave a lasting impact on individuals and communities.
"If you can speak, you can influence. If you can influence, you can change lives."
What issues matter to YOU? Bring the causes that YOU care about to the light. Our world can only change if someone decides to do something about it. Let's let that 'someone' be you.
In summary, public speaking offers personal growth, skills for the future, and the opportunity to make a meaningful impact. Embracing public speaking will help you further understand and develop yourself as a person. All our words, from the simplest "hi" have meaning and weight to them, so let's learn how to use them, how to influence, and how to change the world.