5 ways to overcome fear of addressing a classroom

Have you ever watched the show, ‘Seinfeld’? It’s creator and main character Jerry Seinfeld said, people fear public speaking more than death. Here’s a clip of the video:

I could have given you a lot of reasons to not fear public speaking but I will not. Reason being, every time I get up there to address people I get nervous too. But there is something that works for me – I keep reminding myself, I am smart and people need to listen to what I have to say. My friend, Keith reminds himself that everyone in the audience is stupid. While I do not recommend you think like Keith, I do exhort you to find your own reason. Here are the 5 tips that will help you get over stage fear as relevant to holding a guest session in front of an engineering student audience:

  1. No one is judging you – Students are really appreciative of the time and energy you are spending on sharing your knowledge and experience with them. Majority of the students will be looking at you as their role model – somebody they could emulate.
  2. Making mistakes is normal – I have made uncountable mistakes in my life and still do. We all do and you will too. You might make them in front of a live audience too. So focus on getting your message across.
  3. Use multimedia to your advantage – A presentation with images and videos is much more interesting than words or No presentation.  Using multimedia also reduces the need for spoken words.
  4. Give it a personal touch – Share your story. Your success and challenges, anecdotes and references is what will make your session interesting. There is no harm in sharing personal stories. All of us know of people who immediately become center of attraction at parties because they are great at sharing stories. Not only people enjoy stories, they also relate via them.
  5. You are the Expert – Never forget the reason why you are on that stage. Because you are the Expert so focus on your subject matter expertise and what you bring to the table rather than what you don’t.
Credit: CreativeCommons

Is there anything else that works for you to be a more effective speaker?