Master Public Speaking Anxiety

public speaking anxiety Master public speaking anxiety and speak like a professional. If you have a fear of public speaking then these public speaking tips will calm your public speaking nerves develop your confidence.

It is normal to be nervous before public speaking - it keeps you sharp and focused on what you want to say.

BUT when public speaking strikes fear into you and robs you of your potential then you may be suffering from public speaking anxiety.

We want you to overcome your fear of public speaking rather than being a slave to it!

Does the thought of speaking to a small group of people, let alone a crowd of fifty, make you fall to pieces!

Do you get unnerved by standing up giving reports to your colleagues?

I have seen "the best man" at weddings get up to give a speech and not be able to say a word.

Public speaking is a situation that can strike fear and anxiety into many people.

I have worked with many people who have public speaking anxiety.

What I have found is that many people who have a fear of public speaking have thoughts and beliefs such as:

"I will make a fool of myself"

"What if I forget the speech" or

"My nerves are uncontrollable".

If you were to believe these old wives tales then it would be difficult for you to improve your public speaking.

Rather than be a slave to your public speaking nerves, here I will give you some tips to master your public speaking anxiety.

Practice, practice, practice....then rehearse to reduce public speaking anxiety

To overcome your fear of public speaking and to master your craft you need to practice. That's right, practice as much as you can then practice some more.

When you feel that you have mastered your speech it is time to rehearse.

Don't just rehearse in front of anybody - make it easy on yourself and pull together a friendly audience.

Grab your family and friends. Make a time with them and rehearse as you would present in the real deal!

Make sure that you do this well before your public speech....Your friendly audience may have some advice.....cut all those "ums" from your sentence, project your voice some more, or give a bit more eye contact.

Do this well before the big event and do it a few times if you can.

Learn to relax to overcome public speaking nerves

An effective speaker engages their audience with confidence and knowledge. To do this you must learn to relax.

This can be done a couple of ways.

As a registered psychologist I work with some of the best athletes in the world.

As part of their mental preparation some of these athletes use guided imagery. They imagine the race and how they want it to finish.

Many of the best performers in their chosen discipline have a plan and visualize their success.

You can also do this with public speaking.

On another level imagery helps to get better control of your subconscious fear of public speaking.

Try visualizing in your mind’s eye every aspect of the speaking engagement.

Close your eyes and imagine the room and where you will be standing.

With your mind’s eye picture the people in the room and imagine yourself giving your speech.

Try to use all of your senses in your imagery.

You are likely to find that you will feel a level of natural anxiety attached to the real situation. If you have managed to control yourself in the imagery, then you are half way there.

Even after years of presenting and lecturing in front of people, I still use this technique to picture a successful performance.

Here are some benefits to guided imagery and a step-by-step process that you can adapt to your public speaking.

Have public speaking nerves? Then breathe for relaxation and focus

You may notice that when you start to get stressed you breathe rapidly and shallowly from the chest. This is a common symptom of stress.

This is most likely going to happen just before your speech.

There are many ways that you can plan for this - but a simple and effective strategy is some form of breathing exercise.

Breathing exercises can help you to counter this stress response.

Breathing exercises are simple and effective and can greatly reduce your stress by activating the relaxation response.

I often find that it is useful to do diaphragmatic breathing or some version of these breathing exercises to quickly reduce stress.

One deep breathing technique that you could use is to inhale deeply through the nose for 5 counts, hold for 3 and then exhale for 6 through your mouth.

Count this yourself in your head, picturing the numbers.

This works in two ways.

  1. It is difficult to think of two things at once - try it??...

    Now back to the deep breathing technique....when you are counting it is difficult to think about how nervous you are. Basically you short-circuit the negative swirl of thoughts that are occuring!

  2. This deep breathing technique counters the effects of stress and the stressful breathing with deeper diaphragmatic breathing.

Please note that this breathing skill is not something that will work like magic.

It is a skill and like any skill, whether it is playing tennis or learning to drive, the skill requires practice, practice and more practice to be mastered.

These strategies should increase your self control and develop your confidence to tackle public speaking anxiety.

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