In this guide, we will answer the question, “How to not be nervous in front of a crowd” and some useful tips on how to manage your fear of public speaking.
How to not be nervous in front of a crowd?
If you wonder, ‘How to not be nervous in front of a crowd?’ know that it is completely normal to feel nervous especially because this is not a natural kind of activity and some people even force themselves into it. It is considered as one of the top 10 most common fears people have. If you would like to vanish your nerves and present with confidence consider the following tips:
- Practice as much as possible but without obsessing about the outcome.
- Transform your nervous energy into excitement.
- Attend other people’s speeches and write down their best practices.
- Visualize your success.
- Engage in deep breathing exercises and mindful meditation.
The truth is that many people would rather get bitten by a spider or snake than having to talk in front of an audience. We are social beings and when we face situations where we might get rejected, humiliated or embarrassed, our brain interprets it as a life-threatening situation even if it isn’t. We care too much about what other people might think and for some people past experiences have left a mark or scar they can’t seem to cope with.
How to not be nervous in front of an audience?
One way or the other, we are presented with situations where we have to either present in front of people at school, college/university, work, a wedding, etc. and we need to know how to get past the nerves and anxiety.
However, consider how, even the best and most experienced public speakers and we are talking those who normally make a living out of public speaking, giving speeches or conferences, they still get nervous. You won’t be able to get rid of the feeling completely but you can reduce the impact it has on your performance.
Pretend you are in a one-on-one session
We get nervous when we have to speak to an audience basically because we are thinking about the number of people we have to address. However, pretend you are just speaking to one of them but multiplied by the number of people in the room. It is like having a person-to-person interaction multiple times.
Take it slow, there is no rush
When we are nervous, we would like to get things over with as soon as possible but consider that when you are speaking to a crowd or audience, incrementing your talking speed will be detrimental. The average person has a speaking pace of around 100 to 150 words per minute but when we are feeling nervous, we can increase the pace to 200 to 300 words per minute. Think about how the communication will not be as effective as taking things slow and without rushing.
If you would like to slow down, pause and take some deep breaths or have something to drink.
Having a structure
Unless you are addressing a crowd because you are protesting for human rights or something related then it is important to have a structure. For instance, when preparing your speech, organize and structure information into groups of topics or what you will talk about as if you had the bullet points in your head.
For instance, you could say something like ‘Here are the 5 topics we will cover today’. This will give your crowd or audience a little preview about what we will address during the presentation. Furthermore, this will give your audience benchmarks where every time you address a topic, they will feel they are making progress, will know what to expect and will be more engaged.
Fake it until you make it
We all have heard this expression at some point in our lives but have we applied it to a specific situation? Well, you will find that acting as if you are relaxed, calm and collected will help you project it to your audience and will give you the confidence boost you are looking for. Many people fear that others may find out they are nervous but the truth is that most people won’t notice unless you say ‘I am feeling a bit nervous’, which is not something to be embarrassed or ashamed of.
Instead of thinking about what could go wrong, try to picture what might go well and you will see it goes even better than you think.
You still get extremely nervous? You could have social anxiety
If you feel like talking in front of an audience or crowd is too overwhelming, it makes you feel like your mind goes blank, words won’t come out, you feel nauseous or wanting to puke then your fear maybe even bigger than you think. People with social anxiety feel they are being judged by others even if that is not the case. They will feel nervous in most social settings in situations where they have to interact or perform in front of other people.
However, others only experience social anxiety in particular situations such as hosting an event/party or when having to speak in public (from small to larger groups). Public speaking may be considered one of the common causes of social anxiety but it could vary from one person to the other.
Situations in which people can experience social anxiety
The most common situations where people can experience social anxiety are:
- Speaking in front of a group of people, audience or crowd.
- Talking to strangers and having to introduce themselves or start a conversation.
- Being the centre of attention.
- Speaking at work meetings or to authority figures such as your boss.
- Making calls to unknown places or having to answer the phone.
- Eating or drinking in front of other people.
What can I do if I have social anxiety?
If you have tried everything and you might suspect you have social anxiety then we recommend talking to a professional to get advice on the matter. Some people with social anxiety don’t feel it is something that significantly impacts their lives but for others it is. The first thing to do then is to ask yourself if this fear prevents you from doing things or achieving goals.
If your answer is yes then a mental health professional may suggest psychotherapy and specifically, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). This is recognized as one of the most effective therapies available to treat social anxiety. However, ask for all the options available to you before deciding which one is the best.
Why is this blog about How to not be nervous in front of a crowd important?
As we have discussed on this blog on ‘How to not be nervous in front of a crowd?’, acknowledging that you are nervous and how normal (and common) it is, is the first step. Then it is important to understand what we are feeling, why we might have a fear of public speaking and how to address it.
Furthermore, practising will be helpful so you speak with confidence but remember that there is no need to memorize when your material has done your research and you have organized your information in a way that is easy for you to remember. Make sure you give a preview of what you will talk about to your audience and watch out for your tone, pace and body language. But remember, if you are feeling too overwhelmed or anxiety is significantly impacting your life, consider visiting a mental health professional for further advice.
Please feel free to leave any comments or thoughts about the content of this article!
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What we recommend for curbing Anxiety
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about How to not be nervous in front of a crowd
Why do we get nervous in front of crowds?
If you get nervous in front of crowds it is because this is not a natural activity and communicating your thoughts or opinions in front of everyone is not something everyone is used to. Additionally, we may fear being judged, criticized, embarrassed or losing credibility.
How can I be confident in front of a crowd?
If you want to be confident in front of a crowd, remember to:
– Practice but don’t memorize. Don’t read your presentation, instead use visual aids to help you remember your topic.
– Stand up straight, watch out for body language and speak as you were with an audience.
– Practice not only what you will say but how.
– Ask friends and family to give you feedback about your presentation and what you can improve.
How do I stop being nervous around people?
If you want to stop being nervous around people start by accepting that being nervous is normal so stop fighting your nervous feeling. Additionally, sit down and think about how you are feeling, what you are thinking and why this is happening. This will help you come up with strategies and skills to cope with your nerves.
How can I overcome speaking in front of the class?
If you would like to overcome speaking in front of a class, here are some tips that may help:
– Do your research and know your topic. You don’t have to be an expert on the matter but make sure to do a thorough investigation.
– Organize your information and how you will present it.
– Practice, practice and practice some more but without memorizing or obsessing about having a perfect presentation.
– Visualize your success.
– Do meditation and deep breathing exercises.
– Focus on your presentation and not the audience.
What are 4 reasons for fear of nervousness?
Here are 4 reasons why you may feel nervous:
– If you feel self-conscious about being in front of large groups and the possibility of being judged or criticized.
– The fear of people noticing you are nervous. We are the ones conscious about what is happening internally but we care about it too much we don’t want people to find out.
– Reliving past experiences and thinking we are destined for failure.
– Not being well prepared will make us lose our confidence.
Edwards, V.V. (n.d.) How to Overcome Your Social Anxiety: 6 Tips You Can Use Now. Retrieved from scienceofpeople.com.