Many people have irrational fears about things that will never harm them, barely physically damage if they’re exposed to feared situations, or be unlikely to occur in the first place. Glossophobia, the appropriate term for the fear of public speaking, affects an astounding 74% of the United States population. It doesn’t make sense, but the fear of speaking in public situations is more common than the fear of dying, weighing in at 68%.
An integral part of most churches includes speaking in front of others, singing along with the crowd or on stage, and even playing instruments on the pulpit for everyone to see.
Here are several ways to improve upon musical performance and public speaking in church settings, regardless of your God-given skills or comfortability when faced with the often-feared task.
Practice by recording yourself on video and rewatching it.
Evaluating your performance while playing an instrument or singing without recording your practice runs doesn’t make sense. There’s no way to accurately gauge how well you’re doing and measuring progress without capturing it on video. Doing so will let you study your body language, flow of speech, and presence on stage. You can do the same thing with musical performances.
Pay attention to material organization.
Without having an outline to speak from, bouts of public speaking usually don’t turn out well. Even if you think it sounds good in your mind while speaking without a speech structure, it’s almost guaranteed that it isn’t appealing to others.
While not every speaker needs to have a full outline in their hands or on the podium in front of them while speaking, novice to intermediate public speakers should always carry neatly organized index cards with notes to remind them of where they should be in their speeches.
Consider making an outline while first writing your speech and deciding its topic, then condensing that outline into brand new, unused index cards. It’s important not to use flimsy pieces of paper cut into the shape and size of index cards. Index cards don’t cost much money, so make the investment and buy quality index cards that will make you look good while speaking.
Appropriately use humor if at all possible.
Speakers that are stone cold, serious, and uptight are generally received poorly compared to their upbeat, outgoing counterparts. The only times where humor shouldn’t be used are when speaking about death or tragic events. Otherwise, make sure to use at least one instance of humor, if not more, when speaking in front of your church. Also, because musical performers usually speak before and after playing their instruments or singing, humor should be utilized as long as songs or melodies played aren’t sad in nature.
Look good, feel good.
It’s painfully obvious, but when people wear nice clothes, have their hair groomed, facial hair cut, baring white teeth often feature higher confidence levels than without. Those who have upcoming public speaking appointments in churches should find instant whitening strips for their teeth to brighten their smile and feel more confident. Most people look for product information online, for example reviews of Lumist white strips to find suitable whitening options for their individual needs. Investing in one good outfit, shoes to match, a haircut, and anything else related to personal appearance before speaking or performing in front of your local church is unarguably a great idea.
Don’t stress about using hand gestures too frequently.
Experienced public speakers express emotions and actions with their hands, building onto the experiences and sentiments they convey to their audiences. Novices sometimes force hand expressions, making them look awkward and nervous. It’s always best to place your hands on the lectern in front of you, still and unmoving. Using hand gestures is totally acceptable, although it’s better not to make any than look silly to audiences.
If you’re singing, make sure to talk prior to starting.
Churches are generally quiet, with audience members expected not to say anything during sermons. When invited to sing at a church, make sure to ask an on-topic question prior to beginning your song. This will lessen up the vocal chords in our threat after them laying dormant for up to an hour, or even longer, right before you sing. First impressions are everything, as the saying goes.