Tips for Fear of Public Speaking

Tips for Fear of Public Speaking

Your Action Plan for Combating Fear of Public Speaking

1.  Apologize for being nervous.
It is not necessary to apologize for being nervous.  It could actually discount your credibility and leadership status with your group.  Many speakers believe that their nervous behavior is highly visible. This is not actually the case.  Your nervousness may seem very intense to you, but audience members rarely notice it.  When you watch other speakers, are you taken away from their message because you are distracted by their nervous behavior? I am optimistic that your answer is “no.” Keep in mind that the audience is there for your information and they want to hear what you have to say.  All speakers get nervous, even the pros.  Having some feelings of nervousness is natural.  It is not necessary to have it overwhelm you, and you should not apologize for it.

2.  Rehearse with Purpose and Passion.
The more time you spend with your material, the more automatic and familiar it will be during your delivery.  When you are well rehearsed, confidence will automatically increase and nervous behaviors will decrease.  Most people do not recognize the nervous behaviors of a speaker, but they do recognize when someone is poorly prepared.  A poorly prepared speaker will be challenged with stage fright because it is now realized that the main struggle is due to poor rehearsal.  Increasing preparation time will increase confidence and decrease the feelings of nervous anxiety.  If you are well rehearsed you may actually enjoy giving the presentation.

3.  Have too much caffeine.
Too much caffeine can increase your symptoms of speech anxiety.  Consider moderating your caffeine intake before you speak publically.  Do not eliminate it entirely (you would not want to experience caffeine withdrawal and be distracted), but do not consume too much either. Enjoy one cup.

Do your best to…

1.  Buy something nice for yourself.
You know the old saying, “If you look great, you feel great.”  It’s very true and can give you a sense of having an unstoppable attitude.  Feeling smart and looking sharp can only boost your mood before a presentation.  If it is in your budget, treat yourself to something new and stylish.  Feeling great in an impressive suit will bring volumes of power and confidence to your delivery style.

2.  Rehearse successfully. Keep it Short.
Successful rehearsal will give you successful results.  Studies show that people perform best with shorter rehearsals.  Two or three short practices are more effective than one long practice.  Depending on the length of your presentation, divide it into 20-30 minute periods, or practice in chunks.  When rehearsals are shorter, your energy level is sharper and your attention is more focused.  Frequent, short rehearsals provide a better quality practice and will help you  become familiar with your material more quickly.   Longer rehearsals can cause boredom and may shift your attention away from your practice.  Consider frequent, short rehearsals that keep your focus to produce a delivery that feels natural and enjoyable.

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