Sunday, January 5, 2014

Fear of Public Speaking - What do you feel throughout your body when you speak in public?

In my workshops and working with individual clients one - to one, I coach my clients to enjoy their public speaking roles.

What they often say is that they suffer from "nerves".  In extreme cases, they can throw up, or even freeze so they are unable to perform.  In other cases they might go pink or red in the chest and throat and face, as they begin to speak. One of my clients gave a six minute speech to a room of 250 people and reported that his left leg shook the whole time.  (Fortunately he was behind a solid lectern.  If it had been a perspex lectern he would probably have been seriously embarrassed.)

It's more than sad that very often people will avoid the opportunity to speak and present in public.  Sometimes for a whole life time.

What do you feel throughout your body when you speak in public?

What is the remedy to this thing we call nerves?  It's all in the preparation.  You see, 90% of how well you will perform is already determined before you start to speak.  So, you can wing it on the 10% if you choose, or you can get some help from a good speaking coach.  There are so many techniques you can use, depending upon your personality, experience and willingness to learn.

Let's pin a few points down:

1.  It's normal.  If you experience nervousness in your body - it's a normal and human response.  In fact, Mark Twain used to say (long ago of course) that there are two kinds of people in this world - those who are nervous at speaking in public and those who are liars!

2.  Let's rename it.  Let's call it "Nervous Energy."  You need it - you need that flow of nervous energy in order to do a good performance.

3.  Let's remember.  You can't CONTROL it.  But you can MANAGE it.  HOW?

  • You will feel more nervous on the inside than anyone in the audience can tell on the outside.
  • Do some research for yourself on DIAPHRAGM BREATHING.  Breathing from the diaphragm will be your greatest friend and ally.  (Check my earlier blogs.)
  • Think of your talk/presentation as "sharing information with friends."  Talk TO your audience, not AT them.
  • Rehearse out loud.  Rehearse out loud.  Rehearse out loud.
  • Know your opening lines off by heart.  Know your closing statement off by heart.
  • Tell yourself it's going to be great.    Enjoy your speaking roles.
There is nothing, absolutely nothing, that will get you more quickly to where you want to be in life and in your career that the ability to think on your feet, choose the right words and speak with confidence!

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