I am shaking uncontrollably in a cold sweat. It’s pitch black. Spiders and snakes and lizards and all sorts of creepy things, even worms, slither all over me.
I am trapped in a deep pit. Walls seem to be closing in. The harder I try to get out, the deeper I sink, more and more slimy creatures show up. A snake slithers up my pants leg. What the hell is going on?
I gotta get outta here. My tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth as I try to scream. Just as I feel a scream coming on, terror takes the sound away before I make it. It can’t get much worse.
Ah but it did!
Slimy, thick, black mud oozes in. I am pinned down as it rises over my mouth. I can’t breathe.
Finally, I muster enough strength to scream. Just then, my brother wakes me up. “It was a nightmare”, he says laughing his butt off. He knew that I had to deliver a speech to my history class the next morning. We talked about it just before we went to sleep.
I had to recite Marc Antony’s speech from Shakespeare’s Julius Cesar. The fear of it weighed heavily on my mind as I slept!
I immediately got up, washed off the mud and slime, practiced perfectly, went to class and nailed it. Professor Jacobs said it was “the best yet”.
I Outwitted My Fear of Public Speaking with Perfect Practice. Perfect Practice Prevents Poor Performance!
Overcoming your fear of public speaking is making sure you are prepared and confident in the material you are presenting.
A holistic approach to public speaking means using every means possible to provide the best result for your mind and body. The condition of your body affects the performance of your brain.
A recent survey showed that most people list public speaking as their biggest fear. Forget small spaces, darkness, spiders and snakes. Standing up in front of a crowd and talking is far more terrifying for most people. Your ego is usually the culprit. You become to concerned about making a mistake or what others might think.
Overcoming this fear and getting comfortable in public speaking can be a great self-confidence booster and a huge benefit to your career. This article will give you some basic public speaking applications that will boost your confidence when speaking in public.
Your presentation has to be enthusiastic. Treat yourself, as a professional athlete in training and you will win in the game of public speaking. The items outlined below will dictate your holistic approach to public speaking.
- Maintain Proper Diet. This is always good advice for life. The foods you eat must represent a nutritious and balanced diet. Failure to do so is the equivalent of putting water on machinery that requires oil. Your body will not function at its optimum. If you put in junk food, you’ll get garbage out. Know what good nutrition is and what it looks like.
- Rest. Getting adequate rest should never be overlooked. Rest equips you to speak with more vigor. Exhaustion curbs your ability to speak with enthusiasm. Over rehearsing and good speech writing skills will not overcome exhaustion; it could have the opposite effect.
Your voice has to be treated like a finely crafted instrument. If you smoke, quit. Smoking can cause shortness of breath and hacking coughs in the middle of your presentation.
Don’t overexert your voice shortly before you speak, i.e. yelling at a ballgame or some other kind of like event. This leads to hoarseness and/or a raspy sounding voice. Warm-up your voice gently.
- Stay calm. The calmer and more centered you are, the better speaker you will become. You will have total control of your speech and be less bothered by the sudden symptoms of fear.
- Stay Physically Fit. Regular exercise will lower anxiety and a well-trained and conditioned body can easily withstand stressful situations.
- Your Personal Health. This will directly determine how calm you can be and the level of energy you can display when delivering your speech. In business, it is essential for you to be able to get your point across. It is likely that you will one day have to speak in public. Whether you are giving a formal presentation to an audience, or simply asking our boss for a promotion or raise, your speaking skills are essential to getting ahead in a professional setting.
- Learn to Become a Great Story Teller. The fear of public speaking is very real. However, learning to become a great storyteller will boost your confidence. How many interesting, fascinating, and entertaining stories about your life do you think you’ve been holding on to in your subconscious mind? Think about it, you truly want to be heard. You want to be appreciated.
You have a story. Engage people with who you are and the things you’ve accomplished. Storytelling is a methodology that allows you to share who you are and how you became that person.
Use your story to share a wide range of information, facts, and details about yourself. Do it in a way that is fun, entertaining, and memorable. If you wanted to tell someone about a great restaurant, you would tell them about your first experience at that restaurant.
The decor, the ambience. What it felt like to sit in the comfortable seats. You’d describe appetizing aroma of the food. The chatter of the patrons, the soft music playing in the back ground. The friendly and welcoming receptionist. The professional wait staff. The charming Maître d’. You’d tell them how great the food tasted.
You’ve been doing this all your life. Tell your story so that it adds value to your listener. Whether you’re on a date, at a networking event, out socializing, interacting with coworkers ,or just having drinks/coffee with a friend; you know that deep down inside you want to be entertaining, interesting, and engaging. But remember, “it is more important to be interested than interesting”.
So as you prepare yourself for public speaking, recall some of the great stories you’ve told to your family, friends and coworkers. Re-live the feeling and give your speech or presentation with the same confidence and enthusiasm you used to tell your story.
Hopefully, you found this information beneficial and now you are well on your way to overcome your fear of public speaking!
Now get out there! Speak up and tell your story.