Speaking in public is hard for many people. Whether you have to address a class, your team at work, or any other type of audience, getting up and making a presentation can be terrifying. When speaking to a group, anxiety can overtake you and leave you speechless; however, there are a number of ways to get over a fear of public speaking. Learn about public speaking and how to get over speaking fears by reading the information provided below.

Why is Public Speaking Important?

According to some studies, speaking in front of a group is the number one fear of many Americans. About 41 percent of people have this anxiety. It's important to push through this fear. There are several times in life that you may need to talk to a group, even if making presentations isn't a regular part of your day. Whether working with a team or accepting an award, you need to be prepared.

Practice Makes Perfect

One of the best ways to get past a fear of speaking publicly is to practice your speech ahead of time. You can do this by yourself in front of a mirror, or you can work with a small group you trust. The more you speak in front of people, the easier it will get in the long run. Take every opportunity you can to practice your speeches, or talk in public.

Get People Involved

Engaging with the audience can help you feel less like you're in the spotlight, giving you more confidence. Using leading questions, you can get an entire audience participating and talking back and forth. Whether you plan specific people or arguments to address in your speech, make sure you're keeping people engaged.

Watch Your Body Language

If you're nervous when you speak, this will come out in the way you present yourself. Work on getting your body to present as confident. Keeping an eye on your body language helps you improve your overall confidence, as well. Stand straight, look people in the eye, and don't try to use gestures that don't feel natural.

Think You Can

You can get through your speech. If you continue to think positively through the creation of your presentation and then the presentation itself, you will feel better about it. This helps you do a better job. Keep out all the negative talk that will come to your head, by telling yourself you can do this, and you'll do a great job.

Find a Coping Mechanism

When you're in front of others, you may find your nerves getting the better of you. Using breathing techniques, you can get yourself ready before you actually walk out in front of people. If you need to pause and breathe, this is ok, as well. Focus on friendly faces in the audience as you're giving your speech to help get you through it.

Watch Others

Whether you watch recordings or view live speeches, it's a good idea to watch how others act when they're in front of an audience. What gestures do they make? How do they handle interruptions? Making note of these can help you in your address to an audience.

Getting over a fear of speaking can be difficult, but it is beneficial for everyone.