In pageantry, public speaking plays a large role as a titleholder and even a contestant. Pageant girls have to learn how to talk and present themselves in a very professional manner, and sometimes, the thought of public speaking can be a bit daunting. From interview to onstage question, here are seven things you can do to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:
1. Have a mock interview.
Gather some friends or family members and have them sit at a table just as judges would, and conduct a mock interview. Talking to family and friends is usually a lot easier than talking to strangers like the judges will be, so getting comfortable talking with people you know in this setting will make it easier to express your thoughts when a stranger is sitting behind the table. If you're a VIP girl at The Pageant Planet, you get access to mock interview software! Sign up for your mock interview!
2. Ask yourself questions.
When I am alone in the car stuck in traffic or just doing my hair, I will start to ask myself questions that might come up in a pageant. I would usually take a list with me, such as the one provided here on this website! Once you start getting comfortable answering questions yourself, you start to take notice of the way you talk and how your thoughts sound as they are put into words. Doing this will help you take notice of your strengths and weaknesses, thereby benefiting your ability to speak publicly.
3. Talk more.
Now when I say talk more, I don't mean talk just to hear your own voice. What this really means is that you should reach out and talk to more people than you usually would. That girl from science class that you always smile at? Stop her and strike up a conversation the next time you sit next to each other. By going out of your normal routine and talking to a new person, it becomes easier to talk in front of others in a more public setting.
4. Slow down and take a deep breath.
When in a situation that involves a lot of public speaking, most people shut themselves off and get stage fright. When I first started doing pageants, I would be onstage for the onstage question and would start answering the question before I even knew what my answer would be. By taking a deep breath or a moment of reflection before answering every question asked of you, it is more likely your answer will sound a lot more thought out. Taking time to think is an important asset to staying calm in times of pressure.
5. Play dress up and interview yourself.
Often when in preparation for a pageant or public speaking event, I will put on my outfit, hair and makeup ready, and stand in front of a large mirror. I will ask myself questions (which I will then answer) and take notice of any awkward gestures or statements that I said. You never really get to see the way you look onstage or in an interview, so playing dress up and giving yourself a run through will be beneficial for the next public speaking event you will participate in.
6. Record it.
If standing in front of the mirror isn't your thing (or the mirror isn't big enough), whip out your closest camera and start recording! We all see videos of youtube gurus talking for thirty minutes about makeup and hair and they seem as calm as ever! How do they get their confidence? By looking over their recordings and recognizing their strengths and weaknesses. Having yourself on tape to watch firsthand helps you to notice things about yourself that you wouldn't just standing in front of a mirror. Plus, with the recording you can go back and see improvements, and that is sure to be a confidence booster!
7. Practice, practice, practice.
School speech coming up? Perfect. Local event need a host? Even better! Put yourself out there! The more you practice your public speaking skills the better you will get. I have noticed that the more I started speaking up in my classes or participating in events that required a lot of public speaking, I became more comfortable with myself and my voice. Your thoughts become a lot more clear once you start practicing your public speaking. As they say, practice makes perfect! Just as my previous pageant director used to tell me:
"When fear and doubt in your ability knock on your door, answer it with preparation so you will have no regrets. If you prepare mentally, emotionally and physically to present your BEST self in competition - you will have confidence and be able to leave with no regrets of the shoulda-woulda's." -Beezie Chapman, Director of Miss Pacific Coast USA Pageant
Public speaking can make or break you. When it comes to pageantry, many doors will open that either require or encourage public speaking skills. I have learned through my personal experience in pageantry that my public speaking skills have definitely improved since I had first began competing. My first time on stage, I was so nervous to speak in front of the crowd. After years of practice and perseverance, public speaking became something that I have grown to love. Don't be afraid of speaking up. Speak your mind. Speak your heart. You are in charge of your own destiny!
Her tip is: "Remember you are fearfully and wonderfully made.”Learn More