Fear of speaking in public is one of the most common anxieties that humans experience. It happens to students and to successful executives. Fortunately, there are concrete things you can do to help.
Many people have at the least missed opportunities to be heard and at the worst missed opportunities for advancement. There are many levels of speakers anxiety from a mild sense of ‘nerves’ before speaking to an incapacitating ability to stand and deliver.
I could go into the reasons and origins for stage fright but more importantly the question is ‘can you do anything about it?’ and the answer is YES.
For those who simply don’t like speaking to groups or who have levels of fear but can ‘survive’ there are some simple techniques that can help beyond the normal advice of being prepared and practiced. These suggestions fall into three categories:
- do a quick physical warm up (shoulder rolls, neck rolls, correct stance)
- do some breathing exercises to ready yourself and take your mind off the speech
- embrace opportunities to speak rather than avoiding them–it’s the only way to improve
- craft a strong opening so you’re comfortable with it and will open strong
- try to push negative messaging out of your mind–it doesn’t help. Rather, focus on your purpose, which is to help your audience to get a concept, understand something or agree to something
Although speakers’ anxiety is a real problem for many people, there are things that can be done to address the issue.
For those that find the problem to be more serious and debilitating there are medical and therapeutic avenues to be explored.