How to Overcome Your Public Speaking Anxiety

According to various sources, from 74 to 90% of people have symptoms of anxiety before public speaking. Not only amateurs and beginners, but also professionals

Actors and singers, entertainers and show hosts, speakers and teachers, all who daily delivers lectures, holds conferences, organizes events and performances - feels this anxiety!

Fortunately, most of these experiences are limited to anxiety and most of us are able to cope with it with self-support and psychological exercises. But sometimes the anxiety turns into a phobia, which is called glossophobia, from the Greek "glossa" (tongue) and "phobos" (fear).

What are the symptoms?

--- You feel yourself VERY bad, the anxiety is intensive and fills up all your feelings, you can't think about anything else and you are not able to calm down normally.

--- Your worries start even if you think or hear about group communication or other type of public speaking.

--- You avoid any types of speaking before a group of people, any events, any communications which may focus attention on you.

--- Your anxiety may turn into severe fear or even panic attack sometimes or regularly.

Glossophobia is a real problem which may ruin your career and your normal life, that's why you should consult a doctor if you find out its symptoms.

Today we are going to talk about the less serious but important conditions, which make your work problematic – "normal" public speaking anxiety, that is able to be overcome by yourself.

Traditionally most of fears are caused by illusions that everything must be perfect. What do you usually think when you think about the presentation?

"I must be expressive, inspiring and completely perfect. I must answer any question in a right way. I mustn't forget anything. I mustn't show my fears in any case" etc.

What you REALLY can do?

Prepare well

Fears are commonly connected to your uncertainty in knowing a topic well. You may be afraid to make mistakes, not to answer all the questions or answer incorrectly. You are afraid that your audience will judge you for it and considers you a bad speaker. To deal with these feelings you should prepare well. Don't make your topic too wide if you are not sure that you know it perfectly. Try to study as much as you can in the measures of a chosen topic and key points. Think about potential questions and answers. The reality is that no one and never knows how everything will happen during the presentation or performance. Just prepare what you can.

Don't overthink

What you are usually afraid of? You think they will judge you, they will wait for you to make a littlest mistake and measure every your word or gesture? You think they will hurt or offend you, or think that you are a bad storyteller. Forget it! The psychological fact is: most of us are thinking just about ourselves now: what we are doing, how we are looking, what we are going to learn from the presentation. People really don't want you to fail! So don't overthink, don't put their potential (in 90% not real) thoughts into your brain and heart. If you know your material well and go there in a good mood, show some enthusiasm, you will succeed this show with a very good chance. By the way, experts say that the audience usually doesn't recognize when you are nervous. Remember this!

Talk to a chair

If you are afraid to speak, feel yourself unconfident and uncomfortable, do an exercise which is recommended by psychologists. Put a chair into the center of your room and talk to it. Put 3-5 chairs to imitate a group of people. Imagine they are real. The chair will not comment, won't criticize you, won't say anything. So you can play like you want – be expressive, be artistic, show your passion, dance, sing, shout. Play different roles with diverse characters and degrees of heating. Practice a lot and you'll see – it really helps!

Be yourself

You are not a robot, aren't you? You are a normal person that breathes, walks, eats and sleeps like any other man or woman. You are a human who has a right to make a mistake. No one is perfect and there are no perfect presentations, events, meetings. Some unpredictability is always there, just prepare yourself to it. If you don't know how to answer a question, accept it and ask your audience to find the answer together. If you make a mistake, don't accent on it, go on. Sometimes it is good to say "excuse me", but not every time. Most of your "mistakes" won't be noticeable to your audience.

Accept that you feel nervous, just let it be. Sometimes it is not bad even to start with a confession that you are nervous a little bit – be sure, people will support you.

Now take a deep breath. Everything is going to be great!

© PodioBox 2017

Posted in PodioProfy, Tips by PodioBox on Apr 26, 2019.