How to navigate around the Fear of Public Speaking



When I was 18 I could hardly sit on a table with strangers and look up without starting to feel extremely self-conscious and loose control of my movements. If we were eating I may drop my folk or my food and feel even more self-conscious. I felt trapped in a vicious circle. Luckily I had chosen Hotel Management as a career path and had to find a way to get over my self-consciousness.

Why did I choose that path? I guess apart from loving working grazy hours and traveling I also loved being able to meet lots of different people. My curiosity was bigger then my fear. As the years moved on I managed to appear quite confident when having to give a talk or make a presentation even though my insides were twisting and turning.

Then, about 8 years ago I had my first great breakthrough. I learned what was the source of my fear – and I believe everyone else’s fear of speaking in public.

The fear, if you look closely, is about making a fool of yourself, and the source of this fear is the EGO.

The ego is the part of us that makes us feel separate from others, it is the part that is attached to the image we have created of ourselves.

The Ego is always afraid of being exposed.

A very wise man once saidWhenever you feel afraid to stand up and talk just be aware that at that moment your EGO believes that it is more important then that what you have to give.”

Whenever I start to feel fear of speaking I remind myself of his words. They always make me smile and I tell my ego to relax...after all what is the worse thing that could happen?

At the same time I have created a sort of ritual that helps me enjoy the process of preparing before starting to speak.

Here are some of the things that I have learned which may help you also:

1. I avoid having lots of things to do on the day, I take it easy

This works for me; I always allow the day to be about the event and little else.

2. Others have lots of to-do’s on the day of an event, they get busy.

Some of my friends find that the less they think about a talk or presentation, the better. So they go through their routines or see a movie. They show up at the venue at the last possible minute.

3. Create a ritual.

Your rituals will come to you with time. I meditate and visualize myself giving the talk and enjoying it. I visualize how I connect with the audience, how I feel warm towards them and how they respond by enjoying what I present. Even if I’m doing a small talk, I get very clear that I want my ego to step aside.

4. Get in the audience.

If possible I wander around the audience and talk with people before I speak. It relaxes me to just to hang out and see that there are no monsters in the audience. In a seminar I will get the audience to interact with each other right from the start and then interact with me to break the ice.

5. Exercise.

You feel better if I’ve exercised that day. Yoga and swimming works best for me. Exercise will put your emotions in a better place. I also use singing and breathing techniques to loosen my voice.

6. Get to the venue early.

I like to be well prepared and get a feel for the place. I also like to test any technical equipment and make sure everything works.

7. Use the fear instead of letting it use you

If you don’t feel like you have a handle on your fear, begin “softly.” Don’t try to “win the audience over.” Don’t try to be funny or super good. Because then it becomes about the “trying” and not about the “funny.” Focus on the audience, think warmly of them and you will find that you slowly ease your way into a confident place. Then you will relax.

With my best wishes for your success,

Christiane

Life & Leadership Coach

Author:. Christiane specialises in coaching Executives and their teams with managing change, achieving their objectives and developing their soft skills for lasting success.She is an EMCC accredited Leadership Coach & Mentor with a professional background of over 25 years experience as Senior Manager in internat... Go Deeper | Website

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