Conquering Your Fear of Public Speaking - The Smiling Heart

Conquering Your Fear of Public Speaking

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If the thought of the speaking in front of a room of people makes you shake and sweat, you are not alone.  The fear of public speaking is in fact quite common, and can strike people at the beginning of their careers and can even knock seasoned professionals for a loop.  Professionals like Haris Ahmed Chicago know that bit of nervousness before a speech or presentation is a good thing in that it can keep you fresh and on your toes.  However, if you suffer so severely that you become ill or paralyzed with anxiety, you may need to seek professional assistance.  However, you may also be able to reduce your fear of public speaking through some “self-talk” and rituals.  Read on to learn more.

Find a calming routine

For many of us, the anticipation of a speaking event is far worse than the actual act of speaking. As the event comes closer and closer, the heart can pound, the hands can shake, and sleep can be disrupted.  Do your best to find a calming routing to help you manage the days and hours before your speech. You might find that deep breathing exercises or visualization techniques help you to focus and find some peace of mind, or that a particular piece of music, aromatherapy oil or a massage do the trick.  Remember the phenomenon of Pavlov’s dogs who reacted by salivating when they heard a particular sound – you can condition yourself in the same way to calm your mind with certain routines.  Find what works for you, and practice letting go of the anxiety…before long, that will become more automatic.

Imagine the worst case scenario and deal with it

For many people who are afraid of public speaking, the issue boils down to a fear of messing up in a very public way, perhaps in front of peers or clients.  Often, there is a good deal riding on your ability to speak confidently and effectively, and it is natural that we want to avoid a poor showing.  However, it is very useful to ask yourself what the worst possible scenario might look like and then to really think it through rather than simply recoiling from the thought.  Try to imagine that you are in the audience watching something have a rough time delivering their speech.  What goes through your mind?  Chances are that you wouldn’t consider a talk given with a few bumps or awkward moments to be a failure in any way.  If the speaker had to consult his notes, or back up a bit, you wouldn’t heckle him or make a snide comment to your neighbor.  If the speaker looked a bit anxious, you would probably not really notice or if you did you would admire that he was able to carry on through whatever anxiety he was feeling.  The key to remember is that everyone to some degree shares the anxiety and everyone knows how it feels to be in front of the room.

So, the next time you start to feel anxious about an upcoming performance, try to be as calm as you can before the event, and remember that the people in the audience won’t react any differently than you would to any small signs of discomfort, if they notice them all.