Public speaking, especially for those who are new to the field, can be utterly terrifying. There is something fear-inducing about standing in front of a room filled with peers and attempting to convey a message. In this article, Jason Webb, Milwaukee-based pastor and public speaker shares some of the best methods to become more confident while speaking in public.
The saying “practice makes perfect” definitely applies to speaking in public. Pastors in mega-churches with thousands of visitors know better than most the level of fear that can set in when you are approaching a large speaking event.
That being said, you can stave off the anxiety by rehearsing and practicing frequently. While a full script may not be what you need, you can rehearse and take notes to help ensure that you are prepared and can stay on topic. Some speakers even use a page of notes as a “cheat sheet” to ensure they cover all of the topics they need to.
Understand Your Audience
Pastors and public figures talk to a wide range of audiences consisting of listeners from various backgrounds. This means that part of their expertise and preparation is to ensure that they understand what type of audience they will be in front of.
This is valuable as jokes are favorable in some venues and not in others. Being able to “read the room” and prepare your speaking materials based on what would be the most impactful for the audience at hand is crucial for a public speaker.
It is said best in Proverbs 13:3, “Whoever guards his mouth preserves his life; he who opens wide his lips comes to ruin.”
Find a way to create a conversation with your audience and entice them to hear your words.
Find a Focal Point
There is a common trick used with public speakers concerning using a focal point in the room as a distraction for their anxiety. When they feel overwhelmed by the presence of the people in the room, they find a spot at the back of the space and focus in on it, allowing the faces and individual people to meld together and drift away, so to speak, for a moment until they regain composure.
Others use Christ as a focal point. When the anxiety begins bubbling, they turn to Him in search of peace, and He answers. Tiny, silent prayers during pauses in speech or before beginning can help ease your fears and give comfort as you prepare to talk.
1 Peter 5:7 reads, “Cast all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” This is true. Cast your anxieties on Him and allow Him to shoulder some of the weight alongside you. As the sword and the shield, He protects his followers.
About Jason Webb
Jason Webb is a Milwaukee-based pastor and public speaker. Currently, he is a Team Manager and Groups Director for Great Lakes Church in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Before this, Mr. Webb has established and led multiple churches and non-profit organizations, both domestically and internationally. Jason Webb is an experienced entrepreneur, movement leader, and an advocate for racial reconciliation.