Building your Academic and Career Skill Set: Public Speaking

By Brenda on December 8th, 2011


What’s the #1 fear in the world? Heights? Snakes? Nope – it’s public speaking. Many business and world leaders readily acknowledge how their ability to present information to groups has helped them succeed. In a 2009 interview with the BBC billionaire businessman Warrant Buffet explained that public speaking is critical and that it can easily add 50% to your value. That’s quite jump in value for just one skill.

Every college student, whether online or on-campus, is going to have to give a presentation at some point. Here are some helpful hints on how to present and overcome public speaking jitters.

Have an Outward Focus

One of the secrets that seasoned presenters know is that the audience isn’t really thinking about them at all. Rookie presenters spend their time focusing on themselves and how are they perceived when in reality no one cares nearly as much as they do. Knowing that the only one scrutinizing you is you can bring a lot of comfort. This inward focus takes away from your presentation and causes fear. Having an outward focus and zeroing in on the information and the audience will help you forget about yourself – and your butterflies.

Friend not Foe

People in the audience know how hard it is to present in public because chances are they are afraid of doing it too. The audience actually wants you to do well and is rooting for you. You have to realize that your fellow students are not the problem they are the solution. They want to see you do well. Once you view them as your friends instead of your adversaries, you will be much more at ease.

Arrive early

It’s never easy to show up at right on time and presenting. Some seasoned presenters use the secret of befriending people in the audience because it makes them feel much more comfortable with the audience and their surroundings. When you know people in the audience you feel like you’re having a conversation rather than giving a scary presentation.


Practice makes perfect. One of the reasons people are so nervous is because they have not put in the time practicing their presentation. When you practice your confidence will soar. Seasoned presenters practice their presentations for hours in front of others and the mirror. They minimize the odds that they will make a mistake, which breeds confidence.

Visualize Success

Fears are made greater when we meditate in our minds everything that could go wrong. The way to mitigate these fears is to visualize our success. Spend some time closing your eyes and visualizing how everything is going to go smooth and how well the presentation will go.

Choose the Right Topic

Only speak about things you know about and are passionate about. It’s much easier to speak on something that you are an authority about. Combine that knowledge with a subject you enjoy and you will find yourself feeling a lot more confidence.


Category: Careers and Employment,Other and General