You are standing behind the curtain and heading towards the stage to face many faces half-covered in the darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body begins to feel heavier with each step. The familiar bang echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat is off the chart.
Don’t worry, you are not the only one who has grossophobia (also known as speech anxiety or fear of talking to a large number of people). Sometimes anxiety arises long before you stand on stage.
The body’s defenses respond by releasing adrenaline into the blood in parts of the brain. This is the same chemical that is released as if it were being chased by a lion.
Here are some step-by-step guides to help you overcome your fear of speaking in public.
1. Prepare mentally and physically
According to experts, we are designed to show anxiety and make others aware of it. If you are worried about your body and mind, your audience will notice. Therefore, it is important to prepare before the big show so that you can confidently collect and arrive on stage ready.
“The world outside you reflects the world inside you. What’s happening inside is shown outside.” – Bob Proctor
Light exercise before the presentation causes blood to circulate and oxygenate the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some ways to help calm your racing heart when you start to feel butterflies in your stomach.
If you are tense, your body can feel the same. Your body becomes tense, your muscles tighten, and you sweat cold. The audience will find you nervous.
If you realize that this is exactly what is happening to you a few minutes before your speech, stretch a few times to relax and relax. It is advisable to warm up before every speech as it helps increase the functional potential of the entire body. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency and improves reaction time and your movements.
Here are some exercises to relax before showtime:
- Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps to relieve tension and pressure in the upper body muscles as the roll focuses on head and shoulder rotation and relaxes the muscles. Stress and anxiety can stiffen us within this area and can cause excitement, especially when standing.
- Arms stretch – We often use this part of the muscle during speeches and presentations through hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, relax the body, and improve body language range.
- Waist twist – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your hips in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on relaxing the areas of the abdomen and lower back that are essential because they can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying the anxiety you may experience.
Have you ever felt a dry second before speaking? And do you go up to the stage with a rattling noise in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage phobia makes your mouth feel dry.
To prevent this, it is essential to be well hydrated before the speech. A sip of water works well. However, take it moderately so that you don’t have to go to the bathroom all the time.
As it is a diuretic, avoid sugary drinks and caffeine. That is, I am thirsty. It also amplifies your anxiety that prevents you from speaking smoothly.
Meditation is well known as a powerful calming tool. ABC’s Dan Harris, Nightline and Good Morning America Weekend Co-Anchor and Title Book Author10% happy It is recommended that meditation can help the individual feel very calm and faster.
Meditation is like training your mind. It encourages you and gives you strength and concentration to get rid of negativeness and distraction in words of self-confidence and strength.
Mindfulness meditation in particular is a common way to calm yourself before going on a big stage. Exercise involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing, and focusing on the present without worrying about the past or future. This can include fluttering on stage.
Here is a good example of guided meditation before speaking in public.
2. Focus on your goals
One thing that people who are afraid to speak in public have in common is that they focus too much on themselves and the potential for failure.
Do I look interesting? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Do people listen to me? Does anyone care what I’m talking about? “
Instead of thinking this way, pay attention to one true purpose of providing something of value to your audience.
Determine the progress you want to show to your audience after the presentation. Pay attention to their movements and expressions, adapt your speech and make sure they are having a good time leaving the room as better people.
If your own focus isn’t informative and what it should be when you’re talking, move it to what you do. This is also the key to establishing trust during the presentation. The audience can clearly understand that you are interested.
3. Convert negativeness to positiveness
There are two aspects within us that are always fighting. One is full of power and courage, and the other is full of doubt and anxiety. Which do you eat?
“What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?”
It’s no wonder that many of us find it uncomfortable to give a presentation. All we do is defeat ourselves before we have the opportunity to prove ourselves. This is also known as self-fulfilling prophecy. This is a belief that comes true because we are acting as if we were already. If you think you are incompetent, it will eventually become true.
Motivational coaches advertise that positive mantras and affirmations tend to build your self-confidence at the most important moments. Tell yourself: “I ace this speech, and I can do it!”
Use the adrenaline rush to encourage positive results rather than thinking about negative “what if”.
This is a video by psychologist Kelly McGonigal, who encourages viewers to turn stress into a positive one and provide a way to deal with it.
4. Understand the content
Knowing your content at your fingertips can help reduce your anxiety, as there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice many times before the actual speech.
However, we do not recommend memorizing the script word for word. If you forget something, it can freeze. There is also the risk of unnatural and unfamiliar sounds.
“The amount of reading and memorization does not make you successful in life. It is important to understand and apply wise thinking.” – Bob Proctor
Many people unknowingly make the mistake of reading slides or memorizing scripts word for word without understanding their content. This is a surefire way to feel stressed.
Understanding the flow and content of your speech will help you translate ideas and concepts into your own words and explain them clearly to others in a conversational manner. Designing slides to include a text prompt is also a simple hack, allowing you to quickly recall the flow when your head is blank.
One way to understand is to learn comprehensive concepts and ideas on the pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and shine your personality. It’s like taking a viewer on a journey with some important milestones.
5. Practice will be perfect
Like most people, many of us are naturally unfamiliar with speaking in public. Individuals rarely approach a large audience and give a perfect presentation without research or preparation.
In fact, some of the top presenters have spent countless hours behind the scenes practicing in depth, making it easier to see during showtime. Even a good speaker like the late John F. Kennedy spent months preparing his speech in advance.
Speaking in public, like any other skill, requires practice whether you practice your speech multiple times in front of the mirror or take notes. As the saying goes, practice is perfect!
6. Be genuine
It’s not a bad thing to feel stressed before talking to the audience.
Many are afraid to speak in public. Because they are afraid to judge that others are showing their true vulnerable self. However, Vulnerability Sometimes you can help you come across more Genuine Relevant as a speaker.
If you stop pretending to behave or talk like others, you will find that the risks are worth it. You will be more authentic, flexible and spontaneous. This makes it easy to deal with unpredictable situations, such as difficult questions from the crowd or unexpected technical problems.
Finding your real way of speaking is easy. Choose a topic or issue that you are passionate about and discuss it with your close family and friends as usual. It’s like talking to someone in a personal one-on-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to choose a random audience (preferably a calm face) and talk to one person at a time during the speech. You will find it easier to connect with one person at a time than with the entire room.
That said, depending on how comfortable it is to be in front of others, it may take some time and experience to be comfortable enough to be in front of others. But once you accept it, the horror of the stage isn’t as intimidating as you first thought.
Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine passionate speaker.
7. Post-speech evaluation
Last but not least, if you’ve spoken in public and have been hurt by a bad experience, look at it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.
Don’t hit yourself after the presentation
We are the most difficult of ourselves and that’s a good thing. However, once the speech or presentation is delivered, give yourself some awareness and tap your back.
You managed to finish what you had to do and didn’t give up. You did not convey your fears and anxieties to you. Be a little more proud of your work and believe in yourself.
Improve your next speech
As mentioned earlier, the practice will be perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, ask someone to shoot during your speech or presentation. Then observe and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.
After every speech there are some questions that you can ask yourself:
- how was it?
- Is there room for improvement?
- Did I make noise or feel stressed?
- Did I stumble on my words? why?
- Did I often say “uh”?
- How was the flow of your speech?
Write down everything you observe and continue practicing and improving. Over time, you will better manage your fear of speaking in public and look confident when it matters.
If you need more tips on speaking in public or providing a great presentation, check out the following articles as well.
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