Challenges in Public Speaking and How to Overcome the Same

The significance of public speaking skills cuts across varied professional roles. Anyone would like to excel as an orator, but not everyone does. Here are the major challenges people face and the ways in which the same can be overcome.

Psychological Barriers: Studies reveal that Glossophobia or the fear of public speaking is a common form of anxiety. The idea is almost as dreadful as the idea of death to some. It is a misconception that such morbid fear of anything is beyond remedy, but it is not actually a permanent setback. One can overcome this challenge by deliberately facing an audience despite the fear. It may be a small, familiar audience to begin with, but gradually one will be able to face a larger audience and even an unfamiliar one.

Lack of Experience: Persons without any previous experience of public speaking or less exposure to the stage, suffer from more anxiety. Someone who has not been on the stage or have not been there a good number of times is more likely to suffer from stage fright than someone who is used to the dais and the podium. Beginners face more difficulty in public speaking than the seasoned speakers. Due to lack of experience, beginners remain unsure of many aspects of public speaking hence lack confidence. If one is willing to make use of public speaking opportunities, one learns from mistakes and grows from speech to speech. Over a period of time one gets refined and gains confidence.

Limited Knowledge Base: Content is king in public speaking. one is not sure of what one is saying, it pulls down the confidence level. If one does not possess subject knowledge or does not have access to the required data sets, the script remains weak. Although one can gain knowledge on the given topic and prepare a draft of the speech to be made, it is even better to gain knowledge on a regular basis by reading books and newspaper and listening to talks, audio books, podcasts, etc. A consistent enhancement of one’s knowledge base makes a person ready for even impromptu public speaking episodes.

Linguistic Barriers: Linguistic challenges may exist particularly when one is speaking in a language other than the mother tongue. Without a good command of English language, for instance, one cannot convincingly deliver a speech in English. Improper usages and limited vocabulary can cause semantic barriers. For this, one needs to have a clear understanding of grammar in context. One can also work on one’s word power by reading more and more and using vocabulary Apps and sites like to expand one’s range of vocabulary.

Lack of Preparation: Whether someone is an experienced speaker or an inexperienced one, there is no substitute for preparation. Simply going over the script again and again, even completely  memorising the speech can not ensure fluency. One has to master the content by fully internalizing it with practice. Without doing rehearsals in front of a virtual audience, one can never be sure of where one may go wrong. Without dry runs, technical presentations sometimes fail when unidentified problem areas surface to spoil the overall effect. Even good and experienced speakers need preparation. Sometimes even seasoned speakers make silly mistakes when they are not prepared.

 Lack of connect with the audience: Preparing a good content and mastering the content may require a scientific temper, but connecting with the audience is an art. No matter how good the content is if the audience is not taken along, the speech becomes ineffective. Speakers, who remain self-absorbed and lose sight of the audience, end up giving not-so-impactful a speech despite the worth of their content. One has to be audience-centric in one’s approach. Many aspects of the speech should be altered keeping the audience in mind. For example, when the audience is of non-technical background, the speaker should make the content completely jargon-free. However, if the members of the audience belong to the same field one should make use of technical words to sound more credible and to have the ideal reception of the speech.

Every single challenge in public speaking can be overcome if one is determined to put some effort and consistently so.

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