Do you get nervous at the thought of speaking in public? Do have to deal with stammering, dry mouth, and trembling when you step up to speak in front of a large crowd? If this sounds like you, then don’t worry—it’s more common than you think! One study from Chapman University even listed public speaking as America’s biggest phobia, with 25.3 percent who said they’re afraid to speak in front of a crowd. Luckily, there are few helpful tips to make it less stressful to speak in front of a crowd as you learn English.
Rehearse Multiple Times
Much like acting, public speaking requires a lot of preparation and practice. Try reading your entire speech out loud at least five separate times. Not only will this help you remember what you are planning to say, but it will also help you take note of areas that need to be improved. Also, consider reading your speech aloud in front of a mirror, or even in front of a family member or friend to get more comfortable with speaking in front of others.
To take your rehearsal to the next level, try recording yourself. It’s okay if you feel uncomfortable listening to your voice on a tape recorder—many people are surprised or bothered by the sound of their own voice when they hear it on camera or recorder, but you’ll get used to it! This will help you hear how your speech will sound to others, and if you capture video, then you can see how you look and move during the speech.
Practice Your Breathing
If you get tense and nervous before speaking in front of others, you might notice that your breathing becomes fast and shallow. This will make it harder to speak clearly and remain confident. Try to calm yourself down and regain control of your breath by taking big, deep breaths before stepping in front of your audience.
Give the Audience a Disclaimer
On the big day, you can let the audience know beforehand that English is your second language, and you are still working on your speaking skills and accent. Also, don’t worry if you have a few moments of silence. While the pauses may seem like an eternity to you, they will likely go unnoticed by the audience.
Public speaking can be challenging—but with a few useful tips, you can overcome your fear of speaking in public as you learn English. You may even be surprised at how fun it can be to improve your professional speaking skills. At ALCC American Language, we offer a range of courses catered to learning English speaking, reading, and writing, as well as accent reduction. View our schedule to enroll in a class today!