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How to Overcome Public Speaking Anxiety

Anxiety When Public Speaking

We all know the feeling. Perhaps agreeing to speak at a family wedding. But now anxiety fills you with dread. Are you wanting to progress at work? The idea of that big presentation giving you cold sweats? Or maybe wanting to contribute in group discussions. However, fear leaves you tongue tied. Whatever your situation, overcoming public speaking anxiety can be challenging. It’s also true that many of the masters of public speaking weren’t born naturals. Instead it’s a skill they’ve learnt.

Fear of public speaking

Symptoms of public speaking anxiety include stuttering, dry mouth, cracking voice and blushing. Unfortunately these symptoms aren’t helpful when delivering a good speech. But instead of worrying, considering where your anxiety is coming from. Firstly ask yourself what are you really afraid of? Being judged, making a mistake, or embarrassment? Realise that none of these warrant the amount of fear you’re feeling. In addition, is your mind blowing things out of proportion? In this way triggering a stress response. Luckily, by retraining the mind this fear can be overcome. Here’s a few tips for getting started.

Knowing and loving your audience

If you’re giving a speech at a wedding or funeral consider the purpose and the audience. No one is judging you. You are there sharing an authentic experience with close friends and family. And emotions are an important part of that. So no one minds if your delivery is not perfect.

Job Interviews

In situations like a job interview or presentation people may be more judgemental. Remembering that your audience are still human. They’re  wanting you to succeed. Furthermore, they are there to enjoy the speaking experience with you. Do your research beforehand so you are more familiar with your audience. The more you know the better. You’ll be feeling more comfortable talking to a room full of familiar people rather than nameless faces. Take a step back and see yourself through your audience’s eyes. They don’t know you are nervous. You may well be appearing as a bright, confident person. So embrace that persona. Some signs of nerves can even be passed off as excitement or enthusiasm.

Preparing

Whatever type of speech you’re doing, feeling prepared is half the battle. It does wonders to eliminate nerves. Practising the speech a number of times, recording it, timing it. And, if necessary, visualising yourself delivering it well. Make sure you have everything you need for the big day – notes, props, slides, water and cue cards. Don’t add extra stress but being unprepared. Preparing for all eventualities – what might you say if you do stumble a little? How will you begin and end? What questions might people ask? If you don’t know the answer what will you say?

Delivery

Pacing yourself – practise at a speed that works for you and then stick to it. Don’t let nerves make you rush. Embracing silence – sometimes silence is impactful. And it gives you a chance to gather yourself. Don’t feel the need to fill every single second. Breathing – breathing deeply and slowly relaxes the body and mind. Relaxing – work on relaxing your muscles. In addition, stand up straight but comfortably. Smile when you can and be aware of your body language. Don’t be tempted to fidget or fiddle. Wear something smart but comfortable. Staying in the moment – focus on each word and the sentiment behind it. Avoid letting your mind wander or step outside yourself. Don’t worry about the ending when you’re just at the start. Eye contact – it’s helpful to connect with your audience by maintaining eye contact. However, if you get really nervous many people find that focusing on the microphone, their paper or one friendly face is the best way of succeeding. Enjoy – as you begin to relax you’ll start enjoying public speaking more. Taking a moment to relish the chance to be in the spotlight. Or making that contribution to someone’s special day. Focus on the reasons why you’re doing it. Improving –  It’s well worth making notes after each speech on what went well. And what could be improved. Often we’re so relieved it’s over we can;t wait to forget all about it. That’s until the next time when you’re having to start from square one and the public speaking anxiety looms again.

Further Help with Public Speaking

If you would like more help with public speaking I have lots of experience in this area. Hypnotherapy is ideal for fears and anxiety such as this. Treatment can help you rewire your thinking so you’ll feel confident. And free of public speaking anxiety in your next speech. Contact me to learn more or to book a free consultation.

Further Reading

Public Speaking Tips Nervous When Public Speaking Public Speaking Phobia : Case Study Public Speaking Hypnosis Overcome Fear of Public Speaking With Online Hypnotherapy Public Speaking Hypnotherapy
Alix Needham

Alix Needham

My techniques guarantee that you remain in control at every session. These techniques, developed over 25 years, are so effective that many issues can be addressed in as little as three sessions and my location in the very heart of London means you can book sessions to work around work.

How To Overcome Public Speaking Anxiety
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