Managing a fear of public speaking requires understanding the cause of the fear. The worst kind of place you can be in is standing alone in an open place, facing a large group of people staring at you.
Your brain can’t tell the difference between a real or imagined threat. This is the first step to overcoming your fear of public speaking. This awareness can help even the most accomplished entrepreneur control the false alarm that occurs in his brain in the absence of real danger.
As you begin to feel your heart racing when you start your presentation, you can consciously interrupt the fear response with a quick, deep breath and a rationalization of the false alarm. Making it routine to interrupt the fear response as soon as it happens enables you to prevent the imagined threat from being your default response every time you deliver a speech in front of a group. Here are five useful tips to help you manage performance anxiety and focus on presenting your key messages.
ORGANIZE YOUR THOUGHTS
Organizing all of your thoughts and materials helps you relax and stay calm. Clearly organized thoughts can significantly reduce your speaking anxiety and allow you to focus on the delivering a great speech.
PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE
Nothing replaces practice and preparation for giving your speech. Write out a script of your key points, but don’t recite it verbatim. Perfect your speech so well that you anticipate and can answer any possible question that the audience might ask. This will help you become a better speaker.
FOCUS ON PATTERNS
When you deliver your speech, try to get into a flow, pattern, or rhythm. Keep your sentences short, to the point, and repeat essential tips. A short pause between points adds anticipation to what you are about to say.
CONCENTRATE ON MATERIAL, NOT AUDIENCE
Choose a topic about which you are passionate, such as one that has had such an inordinate impact on you that you want to share it with others. They will feel your intensity and benefit from your knowledge when you speak about a subject from the heart. Talking about something about which you’re enthusiastic facilitates confidence and exhibits authority.
DON’T OVERTHINK REACTIONS
Concentrate on delivering your speech in the best way possible. Someone in the audience will always be yawning or on their phone because they are bored or tired. It is unlikely that these types of audience reactions have anything to do with your speech. Even so, try not to worry about audience reactions.
When you look out into your audience, you may notice some blank faces staring back at you. Instead of thinking that you’ve completely lost them, realize that they are locked in on you and waiting for what you will say next.
An invitation to speak to any audience is a privilege and social proof of interest in your business expertise. Allow that opportunity to help you overcome your fear of public speaking and enable your audience to learn, find inspiration, and enjoy the presentation. You’ll conquer your performance anxiety before you realize it.