Speaking in Public (How to overcome the fear to the audience; minimalistic approach to presentations, etc.) By Michaela Acuyado

                       “The most beautiful thing you can wear is confidence.”

                                                –Blake Lively

“I cried so much…I don’t know why I cried. I am not shy at all at that moment….”

That happened when I was in my kindergarten years. What happened was, I was a contestant of a “Public Speaking Contest” and knowing it’s a contest, of course I prepared a lot and practiced my piece because I wanted to win. But the contestant before my turn went blank on the stage and cannot remember her piece, I guessed that’s what happened so she cried  a lot. I noticed the crowd found her cute and applauded her. So when it was my turn I decided to cry also without any reason. Isn’t it funny? I bet you are laughing so hard now. But hey,  remember, I was just a 6 years old kid that time.

But that experience led me to becoming shy when I grew up. During my elementary years until second high school years, I was tagged as a “shy girl”. Believe me, I was very very shy before . When the teacher asked questions even if I knew the answer, I wouldn’t raise my hand because I am shy. I rarely talked to people and when I came across people in a hallway or street, I would avoid them and I always walked with my eyes down on the floor. I am really that person before.

But a great turn around happened. It was during my last days in second year high school that we were asked to do a “Reporting” in front of the class. We were given a topic 3 days before the reporting so that we could prepare. And the day came and it was my turn to report. Because I am very shy, I felt so nervous that I almost cannot move from my chair. My knees were shaking, my hands were sweating, I was feeling cold, my heart was beating fast and my stomach had butterflies in it. Huh! I was very nervous! I managed to stand up in front of the class with my hands still shaking and report very awkwardly and fast with a quivering voice. But hey I was able to deliver the report and I was relieved. After the class, my teacher had a pep talk to me. She told me I was a very good student, smart and diligent. The only thing is that I was very shy. She told me that my reporting is very bad. I spoke too fast and I looked so restless in front of the class. She said I looked like a fool. Her words hit me very hard. But the words that I cannot forget from her is this: 

“ When you are given an opportunity to speak in front of the crowd, do your best to look good and sound good to them because an opportunity to speak in front of the crowd is a rare one. It only happens once for most people. Don’t make yourself look like a fool. Don’t mind what they will think of you. So because you are already in front of the crowd, all you have to do is to do your best. Show them what you are capable of. Burn like a fire! Even if you are not that knowledgeable of the topic, but you, standing with composure, will wow the audience. In short, be confident!”

Now, I am proud to say that I am a public speaker  in my place and in my parish. I do public speaking like seminars, training and formation to children of different ages, to youth and most frequently to adults. I also sometimes handle online English classes for students from Japan. Yes believe me, and thanks to those words of my teacher. I was able to overcome my shyness when I am in front of the public.

Seems easy but it takes a lot of courage and determination. But if I was able to do that, and others too, then there’s no doubt that you can, too!

“A man is but the product of his thoughts, what he thinks, he becomes.”

— Mahatma Gandhi

Public speaking is not that easy to be honest. Before you can do that, you have to first prepare yourself, plan everything ahead and take a lot of practice. To be able to stand and speak in front of the crowd,  you must be able  first to gather much courage, confidence and competence.  And the rest you leave it to yourself – meaning trust yourself. 

It is okay to feel nervous at all, everyone does and you’re not an exception. It is  a normal thing. Actually, the fear of speaking in public or Glossophobia and the social anxiety or social phobia are all normal to have or to exist but I want you to remember that they are all in the mind. Our mind is the most powerful weapon we have. Imagine the inventions that scientists made, the technology, well, almost all the things that were created by humans are all products of our genius minds. 

So since our mind is so powerful, and we are in control of it, all we have to do is program it to think that there is nothing to fear in doing public speaking. What we constantly think is absorbed by our subconscious mind or our inner being. So practice everyday or every single time speaking to yourself telling it that you are good, you are beautiful and imperfectly perfect and that you don’t  need to fear the public because there is no reason to do so. Everyone is a friend and what others think of you is not anymore your business. Fearing the public is a waste of your time and energy. What you will plant in your mind, will reflect who you are and what you can do. So make sure to plant seeds of beautiful thoughts, inspirations, growth and confidence so that you will reap success. Remember, your mind creates a person in you. So choose to create a wonderful one.

“Minimalism is not about having less, it’s about making room for more of what matters.” – Simplelionheartlife.com

Sometimes, part of public speaking is to do a short or long presentation by using powerpoint slides or any visual aides. So in order to make this a successful presentation, you have to remember this one thing: It should be simple and concise. Simplicity is associated with the minimalistic approach. To do that,  instead of employing a lot of images, colors, context and articles inside your presentation, you will just put a less amount of them but make sure those embody the message of your presentation. In short, make it simple and make it less so the audience will have more understanding.  Because if you put a lot and those others are not really necessary, then it will just create a confusion towards your presentation and your audience. No matter how beautiful your visual aids maybe, but if the message conveyed to the audience is not clear, then it’s no use at all. They say less to be seen – more can be understood. Focus only on what is necessary.  

Just like in our life, we aim to have more of this and that so we do everything to gain them but still we are not contented and we are unhappy. On the other hand,  there are people in this world, who only have less but still they are the happiest. You know why? Because they know what truly matters to them and that is for example, their family and loved ones.

To conclude, public speaking is an honor that not everyone will be given the opportunity to do, so make sure when you are given the chance to do so, leave your fears and anxiety behind. Remember, it’s all in the mind. You are not a loser, you are a lion, you can rule, you can influence, you can speak, so roar in front of the public and burn like a fire! Be confident my friend and focus on what truly matters! Never ever miss the opportunity to let them hear your voice!

“Confidence isn’t walking into a room with your nose in the air,  and thinking you are better than everyone else,

It’s walking into a room and not having to compare yourself to anyone  else in the first place. — @ Life hack