Talking to a person you do not know can be tough. Many people feel nervous with these encounters. However, speaking in front of an audience can be especially overwhelming that perhaps everyone who has tried holding a seminar for the first time has felt very anxious about it. Yet similar to learning how to ride a bike, it may seem impossible at first and you may even find yourself extremely scared at this prospect but eventually, you will learn to get used to it and you will be able to deal with the audience with much ease.
Conquering Your Fear of Public Speaking
As cliché as it may seem, public speakers are made; they were not born to be witty and comfortable around a huge crowd. The qualities they possess are something that they have practiced, developed, and honed over time. So while they may seem to have no trouble at all delivering speeches and making presentations in front of ten to a thousand people, their effectiveness as a public speaker was a result of all their hard work.
In order to conquer your fear of public speaking, the very first thing you need to do is to believe that you can. Ordinary individuals can learn to become brilliant communicators and it all starts with having faith in oneself.
Moreover, you should also avoid getting all stressed out about the thought of speaking in public. What is the worst thing that could happen when you are in front of your audience? These people do not expect you to be perfect when making a presentation so you should not set very high expectations of yourself. Do not be afraid to make a mistake because these things happen even to the most experienced communicators.
Lastly, just be yourself. There is no need to pretend to be someone else when you walk up that stage or when you are in front of the audience. While it is good to emulate great speakers, you must not force yourself to. Take a deep breath and relax. Get a feel of the people around you, build rapport with them, and make yourself at ease in their presence. It is easier to be yourself than to be someone else.
Communication and People Skills
In addition to getting rid of your fear of public speaking, you also need certain skills. You will need communication and people skills so that the message you are trying to get across will be understood, and at the same time, so that you will also be able to establish a good connection with the audience. Communication and people skills always come together, and it is difficult to have one without the other.
As a seminar facilitator, having good communication skills entails the ability to put your ideas into words in a way that your audience will be able to understand clearly. This can be done through the words that you use, your voice quality, facial expression, and body language. People skills, otherwise referred to as interpersonal skills, are competencies that allow you to connect with others. Among the people skills you will need to become a better seminar facilitator are: empathy, conflict management, active listening, and positive attitude.
Final Note on Dealing with Your Audience
The kind of audience you will get often varies. And while in most seminar events that you will be facilitating, you will get nice, understanding, and cooperative participants, you will also come across those that are negative and hostile. This is something that every seminar facilitator has to accept and learn how to deal with, successfully.
Before you step up that stage, it is recommended that you get to know the audience first and anticipate possible issues that might present themselves during the seminar. Get to know your listeners, their concerns, social backgrounds, and find out to what extent the topic or theme of the seminar would affect them. When issues arise, acknowledge them and do your best to address their concerns. Never put them on a defensive or else the situation might get out of hand. In any case, just keep in mind that audiences are generally supportive so do not be afraid to face them.