Fear of public speaking really sucks but luckily there are a few ways to get around that. Let’s face it, if you are in any business you have to talk to people whether one on one or in front of a large audience. Especially when you are successful, more and more event organizer will want to have you as a guest speaker to come and share your story or give trainings. It seems to come with exponential growth. The more you become a leader of influence, the more you’ll be on the stage and at one point or another you’ll have no choice but to tackle on your own fear of public speaking.
Having a PowerPoint or Keynote point form slide show can be a huge asset to keep you on track. Notice I said point form and not the whole story. You want to convey messages to your audience without boring them by reading long slides. Ideally if you can memorise your whole speech that would be the best case scenario, that way you can fully engage with the audience while you’re delivering your content.
You can learn a lot by watching and observing other people perform. A great website to see lots of various guest speakers, from all walks of life who share their personal expertise from every discipline, from science to global issues is TED.com.
Something else you can do if you really want to kick the fear of public speaking is to practise. Yes, practise makes perfect. You can start as little as standing in front of a mirror in your home. You can deliver your speech in front of a camera then watch later and take notes.
If you want more feedback and interacting with other people, then I recommend you check out ToastMasters. Toastmasters International is a world leader in communication and leadership development.
Nothing stops your from doing other forms of public speaking. When I teach the self defense program in high school for example: I’m using my background as a martial arts instructor yet because I’m in charge to lead the class, the side effects are gaining more experience and becoming better at public speaking. The same would apply if you’re in fitness, a dancer, a realtor or any skill set that you have, if you can share it with someone and teach it, you are public speaking on a small scale. So don’t get the fear of public speaking get to you.
Understanding how the body works helps you to defeat the fear of public speaking. Our bodies natural fear response system came up millions of years ago. So, when you’re afraid, the fight or flight syndrome kicks in. The adrenaline rushes through your body sending all the blood flow to your muscles in order to fight the saber tooth tiger or run away from it. When that happens there’s less blood flow going to your brain because you’re in survival mode. You’ll notice that by shaking, being fidgety, perhaps wanting to throw up, etc. More about that in the book or audiobook Crucial Conversation.
A few strategies to deal with that state of anxiety is to reassure yourself that you are not in a state of danger that in fact you are in a safe place. If there’s one thing to remember out of all this, it’s how to get back into a relaxed mode and you do that by asking yourself a simple question. Like: “What do I really want?” By asking that question, you will force the blood flow to go back to your brain and get out of that adrenaline rush state.
It’s best to combine that with breathing exercises. Breathe in and out very slowly, counting to four or five on each inhale and exhale. Do this up to six times and you will feel more relaxed and calm. When you’re brand new at this, it will be a whole roller coaster of emotions but overtime, like anything, you’ll get better at it.
Some public speakers have the ability to be powerful. If you want to be among the best, implementing what you’ve just learn will help you do that. You can take the bull by the horns and get over your fear of public speaking by applying those tricks. All the best!
What about you, what other techniques did you use to deal with your fear of public speaking?
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