For people who must speak in their profession, not as a profession.
In my line of work, I’ve had occasions to stand up and talk, but I’m petrified to death.
I wish I was more comfortable speaking in public.
How can I get over my anxiety?
What should I do with my hands?
I feel like I sound foolish in everything I say.
I have the impression that nobody is actually listening to what I have to say.
How can I make people pay attention?
Public Speaking Anxiety
I have thought all of these things about myself at various points in my career as a professional speaker and teacher. Every person who stands up to speak has likely experienced these emotions at some point. They are common and natural. Why? because one of our deepest anxieties is speaking in front of others. It really ranks among the top five. Even higher than death, in my opinion. You are most definitely not alone if the thought of speaking in front of an audience makes your palms start to perspire. You actually represent the vast majority. I’m not going to give you presentation skills lessons today. There is not enough time. However, I can help you reframe it—alter the way you perceive it—so that it won’t be as challenging.
Often, improving your right arm movement or facial expression won’t make you a better public speaker. The secret to giving presentations with ease is in our mental attitude toward the entire process. Change your perspective if you want to alter your impact.
Putting Your Thoughts in Their Proper Place
These are some tried-and-true public speaking truths. Living by them will increase your influence and perhaps make you less anxious about your upcoming presentations.
Recognize the Fear.
Speaking in front of others is not, in my opinion, what we are actually terrified of. We’re worried about appearing foolish. I believe it all stems from our desire for approval and belonging from others as children. It seems to have something to do with how we perceive ourselves in relation to the outside world. It was simpler for me to face my fear once I understood that what actually terrified me was seeming foolish. Ironically, I never felt self-conscious performing any of the innumerable things I perform every day, including talking to a complete stranger in line for food, checking into a hotel, or going down the hallway earlier that morning. When I placed my food order, no one made fun of me or pointed at me. I didn’t really care how I came across, even if I did something foolish on purpose or even accidentally. Why on stage would it be any different, then? I started to understand that this anxiety was completely unfounded. And if I was worried about coming across as foolish, that ship had left the dock long before I stepped foot on that stage.
Don’t be afraid to admit to the audience that you feel dumb, nervous about saying the wrong thing, and wish you were somewhere else other than up here. They’ll identify with you, and they’ll adore you for it.
Because you are revealing a portion of your narrative and allowing the audience to relate to that emotion, you establish an emotional connection when you admit to them that you find it difficult to speak in front of groups of people. A strong presentation is based on establishing an emotional connection, which is far more valuable than a polished speech. Additionally, you are being rather astute by assessing yourself before others can and demonstrating to them that you are fine with feeling anxious. This increases your influence on the platform.
Stop viewing the audience as hateful individuals.
Do not imagine them in pajamas. Oh, dear. Who thought of that one? What a distraction! However, I do want you to consider your target audience when writing the story. Your presentation will suffer if you develop a story in which they are all growling animals ready to tear you to pieces. These people are your friends, not your detractors. The truth is that they are simply relieved to not be on top. They genuinely don’t mind that you’re talking. What’s for lunch is of greater interest to them. And the majority of people are courteous and pleasant, not out to destroy you. Presenting will be simpler if you can find a method to envision the audience members as actual persons. These are the same individuals that were chit-chatting with you in the corridor, while you waited in line for lunch, and while you were seated next to them in the lobby. Once you take the stage, they do not become jeers.
Before you present, walk around and introduce yourself to individuals. Find out more about their personal lives. From where are they? Which sports team do they support? Do they have kids or pets? compliment a lively ensemble. Talk to these people when you speak. When the intimidating man in the suit in the front row turns out to be your grandfather who just so happened to have grown up in the same town as you, there is a noticeable mental difference.
It Doesn’t Matter How You Look,
It really doesn’t matter how thin you are or whether they enjoy the way you look. Yes, first impressions are created by our appearance. People will evaluate us if we attend our presentation in sweatpants and a torn t-shirt. But when we stand up on a stage, we spend much too much time worrying about what others will think of our appearance. Truth? When they encountered you in the corridor, it didn’t really matter. Now that you’re up there, it really doesn’t matter. The one comment I have heard the most as a professional speaker over the past fifteen years is, “You are so authentic.” If I’m so genuine, who else is there? Fake. You have it, then. Real is preferable to fake. Move forward, my friend. Quit overanalyzing the outer package. Most people don’t feel perfect in themselves, thus they don’t relate to the platform’s prepackaged perfection.
I used to worry a lot about how I seemed on stage. Because I made the platform about ME, my power on the platform decreased as a result of my vanity. I started to lose track of how fantastic I looked once I turned my attention to the crowd and made this about THEM. We don’t give a damn about our attire when we feed the homeless. We were looking forth. So let’s just serve when we present.
Advice: Just recall back to my previous stellar presentation whenever you start to second-guess your attire or wince at embarrassing video of yourself. The criticism I got. emails that folks sent. the customer’s evaluations. This is REALITY. My capacity to persuade, influence, motivate, and inspire people has NEVER depended on how thin, flawless, or white my teeth were. In fact, I daresay that the less polished I am, the more successful I become. Just passing along. The figures are truthful.
Instead of persuading, simply tell your story.
Speaking in front of an audience can be intimidating because of the anxiety associated with getting the information out – in the right order – saying the right words – making sense – and not sounding stupid. I could express the obvious: practicing and preparing helps you become a better presenter. Duh. I’ll say what isn’t as evident, though.
It truly doesn’t matter if you stumble over a few words. Using notes isn’t really important. It doesn’t really matter where your arms are placed or if you have every syllable memorized. Leave that to the speakers who are experts. Authenticity is the most important factor when it comes to public speaking. Speaking from the heart is more persuasive than verbatim notes. Furthermore, telling a story is ALWAYS preferable to providing too much information. You will leave a lasting impression if you can share a personal tale about why this topic is so important to you and to them. This is something that most professional speakers have never been able to achieve.
Advice: In your presentation, concentrate on WHY rather than WHAT. Later, there will always be more time for the what. First, get them to understand why. There is no amount of bullet point statistics that will convince, persuade, motivate, inspire, teach, or generate trust and credibility like a short tale that illustrates the point(s) you want to make. Science supports what I’ve said. The only instrument that will let you present information in a way that makes an emotional connection with your audience is story. And emotion is the key to persuasion.
Keep the Intent in mind
Education and awareness-raising are the goals of public speaking. It is not about doing well and receiving an A. It involves persuasion. It involves inspiring people to act. It involves persuading people that they have a problem and that you have the solution. Too many individuals concentrate on the technical aspects of speaking without ever addressing the fundamental reason we’re up there.
A helpful hint is to keep in mind that you are trying to persuade people as you plan, practice, and deliver your speech. Not perform; you want to influence. Playing sounds difficult. Authentically delivering your message to the world? No big deal.
I believe that showing people you care and utilizing a tale to convince them that they should care as well are the keys to effective public speaking.
Truth Wins Over Emotion
It’s not always true just because you feel like you don’t belong up there. Keep your emotions out of the wheel. The fact is that you were purposefully picked for this particular circumstance. Respect that. A person choose you. This indicates that they see something in you that you don’t. Jump after taking a deep breath. They are the focus here, not you. It is crucial.
Choose bravery before you feel brave.
I make the decision to let my dream outweigh my fear. The person who needed to hear those words today is far more important to me than the one person who might not agree with my message or the attire I chose to wear while I delivered it. I will not cast any doubt on the Spirit that resides within me or the Creator who gave me a voice and a mountain. I must respect His creation if I’m going to honor that Creator. Just passing along.
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