Public Speaking Anxiety - How to Eliminate Fear and Nervousness and Radiate Confidence Instead
Tip 1: Do what you fear most and you will conquer fear
I used to dread speaking in front of a group at school or the workplace. Then finally I said enough is enough! I refuse to live in fear. So I enrolled in a Dale Carnegie public speaking class, and 14 weeks later you couldn't shut me up.
Unfortunately I never joined a weekly speaking club such as Toastmasters to maintain my new-found comfort level. In the next 7 years, I was never called upon to speak in public until a business situation came up.... back to square one.
So I joined a weekly Toastmasters club, and 40 speeches later, I earned my Advanced Communicator Gold. And once again you couldn't shut me up.
Action: Dive in the deep end and speak every week at a Toastmasters club. You'll increase your comfort level and enhance your confidence.
Tip 2: Rehearse endlessly in a variety of ways
Write your speech out and read it in front of a mirror until you've pretty much memorized it. Then summarize each section with a bullet point, and using ONLY these bullets as a guide, practice in front of the mirror again. This will keep your speech conversational and you will feel a confidence born of preparation.
Ask yourself what confidence looks and sounds like for YOU. Then, make sure the reflection in the mirror radiates confidence in a way that makes you look and feel powerful and poised with complete self-control.
Along with the above physical practice, lie or sit down and go into a meditative state. Now take your speech (that you've recorded onto your mp3 player), and listen with your eyes closed. Vividly imagine yourself in front of your audience.
Visualize every detail of your speech and focus on the FEELING of absolute confidence that you feel in this stress-free practice environment. Feel it? Now squeeze your right thumb. When you get up to present your speech live, squeeze your thumb the same way and it will trigger the same surge of confidence from your visualization. (This is called Anchoring, which is a neuro-linguistic programming process - it works!)
Tip 3: Does your anticipation have you concerned your voice and body might shake?
If you're prone to shaking before a presentation, some folks suggest you do some push-ups or jumping jacks. Hah! Not very practical for most public speaking scenarios and not very effective regardless.
I can't imagine anything worse than a trembling voice and a shaking body during a key business presentation where your reputation is on the line. If the anticipation of the event has you seriously concerned and you haven't had the luxury of 40 Toastmasters speeches to assuage your anxiety, then Propranolol or a natural supplement such as Seredyn could be your game changer.
Propranolol or Seredyn are frequently used by musicians and other public performers. Take them 30 minutes or so before your presentation/speech and you can approach the stage with confidence (assuming you're rehearsed).
Hopefully tips 1 and 2 are enough. But if tip 3 helps you deliver a successful career making speech, it may provide a foundation of confidence from which you can grow as a public speaker.