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Controlling your Fear of Public Speaking

It is common for speakers at all skill levels to be nervous about giving a speech. The difference between an experienced and inexperienced speaker is that the experienced speaker knows how to Nervous Speaker-Blog Postcontrol their nervousness and use it to enhance their speech. By understanding the causes and symptoms of the fear, a speaker can take that nervous energy and channel it towards a positive outcome. To obtain a confident appearance, a seasoned orator applies the proper methods and techniques for relaxation.

Anixety Triggers

  • New and unknown situations – New experiences are stressful. The inability to anticipate the unforeseen causes high level of anxiety.
  • Risk of failure – From childhood to adulthood, we dream of success, victory, and achievement. To not finish first or be the best often increases nervousness and anxiety.
  • Potential for appearing foolish – Beyond achieving goals, we all want to appear circumspect in the way we accomplish our goals. No one wants to suffer disgrace. The possibility of embarrassment causes great fear and panic.
  • Possibility of boring the audience – A speaker’s hope is to engage and enamor the audience. The fear of not connecting with the audience, of being considered boring, brings about insecurity, apprehension, and worry.

How to Manage your Anxiety
Studies have shown one of the best methods for reducing anxiety is practice. After speaking a few times, you can put your anxiety into perspective. Try these techniques to gain some experience:

    • Practice in front of a mirror.
    • Rehearse in front of family and friends.
    • Give presentations before other groups, anywhere you can.

Visualization
Mentally rehearsing employs thought processes to achieve positive results. The brain can not tell the difference between memories and actual experiences. You can mentally walk yourself through the following scenario, vividly imagining each action:

      1. You are introduced to an audience.
      2. You walk up to the lectern confidently
      3. You take several deep breaths before you begin to speak
      4. You speak clearly and forcefully
      5. You captivate the audience with your words, gestures, and vocal variety.
      6. When you finish, the audience applauds in appreciation.

Repeat this visualization until your confidence has increased and your anxiety has decreased.

Relaxation
Relaxation and breathing techniques alleviate physical tensions and calm the mind. Practise these techniques to reduce tension:

      • Tighten your muscles, such as your shoulders, for a few seconds and then release
      • Stand, inhale and stretch your arms towards the ceiling. Then exhale as you bend to touch your toes, keeping your knees straight. Repeat this several times.
      • Hold your arms out to the sides, parallel to the floor and rotate them in small circles, first forward 10 times, then backward 10 times.

The next time you are about to give a speech, as your heart pounds, you have butterflies in your stomach and your knees quiver, turn your anxiety into positive energy using the methods discussed. Your audience will be impressed with your confidence and listen to every word you say.