Overcoming your fear to embrace public speaking in five easy steps

Are you feeding your fear of public speaking by avoiding speaking in public?

Overcoming your fear to embrace public speaking in five easy steps

You are not alone. The most common strategy used by people to manage their fear of speaking in public is to dodge and evade it.

The problem is if you avoid what you fear, you actually feed the fear.

Like a weed, it keeps returning each time you are challenged with the prospect of communicating in public.

And we’re not talking about standing alone on a stage with a microphone in front of a thousand people.

We are talking about common, everyday situations – like contributing an idea during a meeting, giving a work presentation, talking to a small panel in a job interview, giving a speech at a wedding or even chatting with new people at a networking or social event.

If you keep avoiding what you fear, your story will never be told, and your ideas will never be heard.

And you deserve to be heard

Use these five easy to apply tools and strategies anytime you feel fearful and low in confidence when communicating.

1. Practice diaphragm breathing.

When you feel fear, it is common to breathe from your upper chest. This impacts on the projection, pace, and pitch of your voice. It also makes your shoulders, neck and throat feel tighter. Upper chest breathing makes you look and feel more nervous.

Practice diaphragm breathing leading up to and during your public speaking moment. This will help your voice quality and make you look and feel more confident.

2. Strike a power pose.

Wonder Woman and Super Man demonstrate the iconic power pose: stand up straight, hands on hips, chest out and head up – feel empowered with your super powers!

When you feel fear, you tend to use protective and closed body language. Psychologist Amy Cuddy explains in her Ted Talk, ‘Your body language may shape who you are’, that using open body language can make you look and feel more confident.

Within two minutes of holding a power pose you will feel stronger and more powerful.

3. Prepare and rehearse.

The more familiar you are with your presentation, pitch or idea, the more you will be able to focus on the moment.

If you leave it to the last minute and don’t have time to rehearse, you are sabotaging your opportunity to succeed. You are more likely to have a mental blank or brain freeze because you feel unprepared.

Rehearsing will help you with what you say as well as how to say it; the tone of voice, body language and movement that support your message.

Rehearse in front of trusted friends and colleagues so that you are less surprised by the reaction from your audience on the day.

4. Seize opportunities.

The more you put yourself out of your comfort zone, the more your confidence will grow.

Volunteer to share an idea in a meeting or present on behalf of your team, in situations that you would historically avoid.

Do your diaphragm breathing, strike your power pose, and prepare and rehearse well on each occasion.

Each time will be a bit easier because you will have faced your fear and ridden through it. The more you do it, the better you get.

5. Ask for feedback.

We are often unaware of our strengths because we are too busy concentrating on perceived weaknesses.

It is empowering to receive feedback from trusted friends and colleagues.

Ask them to point out what you did well and areas for improvement that you can build on for next time.

If you want you or your team to become more confident at public speaking, book one of my public speaking workshops Group Workshops https://rb.gy/0fmkjg or sign up for a one-on-one coaching session https://rb.gy/rxkoy3

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