Fear of Public Speaking and Ending The Dread
Do you have a terror of public speaking? Does just the thought of public speaking fill you with dread?
The fear of public speaking can leave you anxious about possibly being asked to speak in front of others, whether that is speaking on a conference call, delivering a presentation or making a speech. In fact, fear of public speaking is often considered to be the most common fear out there.
And whilst you may be comfortable talking one on one or to a few people, once the numbers increase, so does the panic and worry.
You may have become an expert at getting out of public speaking, yet the threat of it looms large and sooner or later those excuses for getting out of it start to run out. Or maybe you’ve been forcing yourself through that draining anxiety, just wishing you could find a way to calmly and confidently speak, without it taking over your life beforehand.
So if you struggle with public speaking anxiety, what can you do about it to turn it into a more pleasant, even enjoyable, experience?
The most crippling public speaking anxiety comes from within our own minds. We get used to feeling anxious at the thought of public speaking, or maybe we tell ourselves (and others) that we could never do that when we see others speak or present.
And the whole time you are re-enforcing that link between anxiety and imagining making a speech or delivering a presentation.
You may worry that you will go blank and forget what you wanted to say, yet of course, only you know what you plan to say and your audience and unlikely to have any idea what you intend to say or the words you plan to use.
If you’ve had unpleasant experiences in the past, you may worry that the same thing will happen again and you will panic or shake and look nervous in front of others. But of course, just because you had a bad experience in the past doesn’t mean that it is certain to happen again, especially if you have learnt from it.
And perhaps the biggest stumbling block of fear about public speaking is the worry of being judged negatively – that you’ll make an idiot of yourself, or that people will think you are stupid. Of course, chances are that the audience are either wishing you well, listening to what you are saying or absolutely lost in their own thoughts (perhaps thinking how they wish they were as courageous as you are for getting up there).
Whether that worry about being judged in some way is a general life trait you have or confined solely to public speaking, it can be overcome. After all, you talk comfortably to some people some times so all you really need to do is find a way to take that comfort and apply it here too.
Here are 6 practical public speaking tips to help you evaporate fear and instill confidence and self belief ready to present perfectly:
1) Prepare Your Stuff In Advance: Prepare your content thoroughly so you are confident in what you plan to deliver.
2) Prepare Your Mental Stuff In Advance Too: Instead of feeling anxious and worrying about it, start practicing feeling calm and relaxed and focusing on everything going well. Extend your out breath to help you relax then when feeling calm, imagine watching yourself looking calm, relaxed and confident delivering your presentation or speech. Repeat this mental rehearsal every day and make it more and more vivid each time.
3) Be In The Right Place: On the day, be in the right mental place. Keep running your success movie in your head and tell yourself how you’ll be fine. If it helps, remember times when you’ve felt comfortable and free to be yourself around others and remember that feeling now.
4) Tame Your Mind: If your mind starts to run away to places you don’t want it to go then reign it in. Start counting backwards in your mind from 300 in units of 3 or reciting the alphabet backwards in your head to calm your emotions and get the thinking part of your brain in charge. Rather than focus on your internal thoughts, make an effort to notice what is going on and the colours and sounds around you.
5) Get Your Body Right: When you are speaking stand or sit in a balanced way, with both feet flat on the floor and an even distribution of weight. Affirm confidence in your thoughts, smile and relax your breathing.
6) Learn and Prosper: Keep improving and moving forward! After your public speaking spend some time to think of three things that you did well or that went well about it. Then think of one thing you could do even better next time and spend some time vividly imagining actually doing it next time to start programming it into your mind.
If you could use some help to put your fear of public speaking well and truly behind you (where it belongs) then get in touch today and ask about booking your initial consultation. This is your opportunity to take that first step into a world where public speaking becomes something you do with calmness and confidence (and maybe something you can smile about and enjoy…).
To your success,
Anxiety Management Expert