Take the Anxiety Out of Speaking
Did you know that three out of four people are anxious about speaking in public? Are you one of them? Don’t worry. You can learn simple measures to control the nervousness associated with speaking one-on-one or in front of an audience.
Here are three essential steps to controlling your anxiety and starting on your journey to success:
- Acknowledge that is ok to be nervous
- Identify your symptoms
- Practice control techniques
Acknowledge that it is ok to be nervous
Being nervous is ok. Many people, even experienced speakers, and performers get nervous before they start.
Being a little nervous can be useful. It helps you stay alert and sharp. The adrenaline gives you a boost of energy which in turn provides your presentation with a vitality that attracts your audience.
By acknowledging that you are nervous and giving yourself permission to be, you can now stop worrying and do something about it.
Identify your symptoms
There are numerous symptoms which express your nervousness. The second step in controlling your anxiety is to identify the signs.
Trembling, thumbing heart, dry mouth, butterflies, shaky voice, breathlessness, nausea, and perspiring are some of the symptoms of nervousness. Which ones do you experience?
There are several techniques to assist you to overcome your stress levels. By practising these methods, you will conquer your fears.
Practice control technique
Positive visualisation, speech preparation and practice, deep breathing and relaxation exercises are techniques that you can use to help reduce stress levels and prepare your mind for the presentation.
Visualising yourself speaking helps you see yourself under a controlled circumstance. You can see yourself holding your audience’s attention, see them hanging on your every word. You see yourself enjoying the experience, replacing the negative thoughts with positive images. You experience how it feels to be successful.
On the day of your presentation, your adrenaline levels may increase causing your breathing to become shallow. Listen to your breathing and then take deep, slow breaths, filling your lungs to maximum capacity. The deep breathing will help reduce the effects of the adrenaline on your body, and you will find yourself becoming calmer.
Use relaxation techniques
Relaxation techniques are helpful while you are waiting to speak. Take control of your situation, do not rush, breath slowly, deeply, and comfortably. Drop your shoulders and relax them, smile, enjoy the experience.
Thorough preparation is the key to success in public speaking. By preparing correctly you will feel confident. It is confidence that will reduce your anxiety levels. For more on how to prepare, click here.
You have heard the adage; practice makes perfect, well it does. We all own a mirror. Use your mirror to practice your speech. Record your talk and listen to it, taking note of how you can improve your performance.
Try your speech in front of your family and friends or come to a Speaking Made Easy session and use the group as your practice audience.
Practicing helps increase your confidences because you hear the flow and logic of your piece and can iron out any problem areas before presenting.
Overcome your nervousness by acknowledging that it is ok to be nervous. Identify your symptoms and learn how to prevent them. Practice control techniques, and you will find that as your confidence increases, your nervousness will decrease.