Monday, April 20, 2009

Mayo Clinic psychiatrist discusses overcoming fear of public speaking

Most blog posts or articles on the topic of overcoming fear are just short teaser ads. They basically say either to take my course or to buy my book. Every once in a while there is something more authoritative. Last month a psychiatrist at the Mayo Clinic, Daniel K. Hall-Flavin, M.D. posted a 950-word web column in reply to the question of How can I overcome my fear of public speaking? Doctor Hall-Flavin discussed the following points:

1. Don't avoid it.

2. Know your topic inside and out

3. Get organized.

4. Use audio and visual aids — for yourself, and for the audience.

5. Practice, and then practice some more.

6. Practice in front of people you know.

7. Know your audience.

8. Double-check the room setup.

9. Relax.

10. Focus on your material, not your audience.

11. Trust your audience.

12. Don't be afraid of a moment of silence.

13. Recognize your success.

14. Get support.

Under the last point, about getting support, he said that:

“You aren't alone in your fear of public speaking. There are nonprofit and commercial groups out there to help you learn and practice the skills you need to overcome your fear and become the effective, confident speaker you want to be. One effective resource is Toastmasters, a nonprofit organization with local chapters that focuses on training people in speaking and leadership skills.”

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