Glossophobia: Public speaking is considered the greatest fear a person can have, even greater than the fear of death. An estimated 75% of the population suffer from it!
Nerves are inevitable when delivering a speech or presentation. Letting them get the better of you is not. By developing a strategy for taking the focus off your nervousness, you can increase your confidence in your ability to deliver an excellent presentation. This confidence then counteracts your nerves and you create a positive cycle for yourself.
But you don’t have to fear public speaking.
It is conquerable.
But why do we fear speaking in front of others? The 3 most common limiting beliefs are:
1. “I am not good enough. People will judge me and disapprove of what I say.” (Victim mentality)
2. “My speaking abilities are ruined by a past disaster.” (Fear of failure)
3. “I can’t stand the thought of making a mistake in front of others.” (Perfectionism)
Some cognitive behavioural techniques for changing this mindset:
1. Consider changing your self-talk:
- “It’s not about me, it’s about the audience. They want to hear what I have to say, otherwise they will not be there. They will be willing to listen to anyone delivering this message. If they don’t approve, then it’s up to them. I am not a victim, I am a successful business person with a voice.”
- “What happened in the past doesn’t have to dictate my future. Things are unlikely to go wrong this time because I am prepared and ready. That was a learning experience but it didn’t kill me and I am stronger for it.”
- “Everyone makes mistakes. It’s what I do with the mistake that defines me. No one will judge me for making a mistake. They will probably not even notice it, unless I draw attention to it. They don’t know what I plan to say in my speech. If I leave something out or get things the wrong way around, it won’t make any difference at all.”
The secret to superb speech making is to be human. Give yourself permission to make mistakes, recover quickly and move on.
2. Apply the AWARE model to help you put those niggles to bed:
|A||Accept the nerves. It’s quite normal! Recognize the source of the fear and remember that FEAR is only False Evidence Appearing Real. If you Act fearfully, you will be afraid! If you act confidently, you will feel that way.|
|W||Work by preparing thoroughly, practicing and knowing your stuff before you start. Make visual aids to support your statements and give your hands something to do. Prepare, Practice, Perform.|
|A||Acknowledge the audience. They want you to do well. Speak to each one in turn. Enrol and engage them, allow them to be in this process with you. Have fun and share it with them.|
|R||Relax! Learn some breathing and physical relaxation techniques to reduce the adrenalin and manage the physical symptoms.|
|E||Enjoy! (And perhaps experiment?) There is no point in life doing things that don’t bring joy to yourself and others. Seek the best outcome, instead of the worst.|