How to Deal With Public Speaking Fear

Please raise your hand if you don't have a fear of public speaking. What - not even one? Yes, this is a reality - almost all of us experience a great deal of anxiety, nervousness and lack of confidence and low self-esteem before and during presentations. Even a thought of talking in front of people could cause us to have insomnia, nausea, bad mood and fear of failing.

You probably already started sweating just reading about public speaking and imagining how scary this experience could be. Please relax because we have good news for you - you are not alone and it is normal to feel this way.

It is called Glossophobia or Speech Anxiety - the fear of public speaking. It is one of the most common fears that affects 75% of the population. For many of people fear of public speaking outranks even fear of death. Jerry Seinfeld joked about it, "This means to the average person, if you go to a funeral, you're better off in the casket than doing the eulogy." We will provide some hints later for you how to deal with fear of public speaking. But first let's start identifying what kind of fear you have about public speaking.

Fear of being and showing nervousness

The worst aspect of public speaking is how we feel right before and during the speech. We are sweating, our hands are shaking, heart is pounding 100 times more than it should be and blood pressure is up, our mouth is dry and face is blushing, our voice is trembling and we tend to repeat of "Umms" and "Ahhs." Everybody experiences some if not all of these anxiety signs.

Fear of audience

"What will people think about me?" "Will they like me/my information?" "Will they judge me?" The bigger the audience the more nervous we become. Often times we are so concerned about how we will perform and how our audience will react that we cancel our presentation or just don't show up for it making up reasons - being sick, stuck in traffic or dealing with global warming issues.

It is good to know that people in the audience have their own big issues to be worried about. (work, family, money). Also there might be just a few people in a whole room who will really judge us (unless you are a part of competition contest).

Fear of forgetting your words

"What if I get numb in a middle of my speech?" If you are giving a presentation, your audience will not know what you were going to say. If you forget some words, who cares! Keep going and make your points.

What you can do to prevent or reduce this paralyzing fear?

One week before presentation

• Prepare your speech. It will boost your confidence and help to deal with anxiety. Make your speech interesting, fun; find exciting facts, statistics, data, special details, and examples of practical application or quotes. Wow your audience. It is an era of Google - use it! Even if you given a presentation on a seemingly boring topic, make an every afford to bring to your speech something unique and surprising.

• Be passionate! Passion is contagious and affectionate. People love it! It will help you to deal with your nervousness because your state of mind will shift from thinking "They won't like me (my speech) to "I want to share my knowledge or feelings." Put your heart in it, ask yourself - is that information appealing, relevant, useful, interesting or motivating for an audience?

One day before presentation

• Repeat your presentation as many times as you can. Stand in a front of the mirror, dress exactly as you will be during your speech and say it loudly again and again. Or find someone who could listen to you while you are practicing and give you feedback. Listening to yourself will magically help you remember it better.

• Remember the key points. You don't need to memorize your presentation word by word because when you are giving a speech in front of people it will always be different from that you prepared before. As Dale Carnegie said, "There are always three speeches, for every one you actually gave. The one you practiced, the one you gave, and the one you wish you gave."

5 minutes before presentation

• Make 10-20 deep belly breaths. This very simple excise will help you to cam down.
• Drink water. It is very important to keep you mouth and throat hydrated.

1 second before the speech

• Smile! It will help you to relax you facial mussels, bring you to better mood happy and make you to feel confident.

How often the presenter starts their speech as, "I am so sorry for being nervous." Don't ever apologize for being nervous because people don't know it and they don't need to be aware of it. When you confess it people will immediately start noticing the signs of your anxiety. It also sets the wrong tone for the presentation.

Remember that even very experienced public speakers feel butterflies in their stomach before their talks. The difference is that they treat it not as an anxiety but rather as an adrenaline rush, excitement and challenge.

Good luck with your presentation!

Nina Telpoukhovskaia is a President of Be Best Professional Development Centre, bestselling author of 5 books in Russia and Canada, including Retail Sales. 6 Steps to Double Your Profit. She is an inspiring workshop leader, sales coach and consultant, dynamic and knowledgeable public speaker with 22 years of unique international teaching experience.

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