Saturday, June 8, 2024

How To Overcome Speech Anxiety

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It Can Help Advance Your Career

How I Overcame My Fear of Public Speaking | Danish Dhamani | TEDxKids@SMU

Public speaking may give you a kind of self-confidence that will help you in interviews.

And we all know that if theres one thing employers look out for, its candidates with confidence.

Confidence just means that you can handle responsibility.

Confidence also helps you stand out amongst your colleagues.

Furthermore, through this skill, you might even become a leader, proffering solutions when needed.

What Do You Think

Heres what I notice when I review this question with fearful speakers. Their strategies during a speech are designed to:

* End the speech as soon as possible

* Avoid any pauses or interruptions during the speech

* Avoid contact with the audience

* Hide the fact that they are afraid

These all involve efforts to resist and fight public speaking anxiety. They also involve efforts to resist the role of speaker, and to avoid using all the powers that come with being a speaker.

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What To Do On The Day Of The Speech

On the day the speech arrives, you need to make sure you do all of the little things that help your body and mind control anxiety. You need to make sure that youre fully rested, with a good nights sleep. You need to make sure youre properly hydrated and that youve had full and healthy meals. You need to go jogging, or do something to relieve some of your muscle tension.

You should also prepare everything you need in advance, so that you dont have any worries about whether or not you have everything ready. You can try practicing the presentation one more time and do the visualization techniques again or you can integrate many relaxation strategies to make sure youre calm for the day, such as:

  • Progressive Muscle Relaxation

The less anxiety you experience that day, the easier a time youll have on the speech. The buildup can be one of the worst parts, and avoiding the buildup will decrease the way that anxiety affects you.

Finally, remind yourself that it doesnt matter what people think. Dont go in there worrying about everyone else. Go in there reminding yourself that youve done what you can, and that no matter how well it goes youll continue to get better.

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Overcoming Speaking Anxiety Is The First Step

It can be a bit of a challenge to overcome speaking anxiety, specifically because it is so easy to avoid most situations where it is necessary. But if you continue to work at it, you’ll often find that in the end you can speak in public much better than you ever could in the past.

Still, make sure that you also take steps to reduce your overall anxiety. Anxiety is a cumulative disorder, and if you continue to experience severe anxiety beyond speaking anxiety, you’re likely to find it affecting your ability to speak publicly as well.

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Build Your Own Plan Of Action

16 Tips to Overcome Fear of Public Speaking

The only way you can overcome your publicspeakinganxiety is to get in front of other people and practice talking. But, because you do this in your own time and only within your comfort zone, one step at a time, its not such a scary process. Working your way backwards from your ultimate goal, start creating public speaking situations that will lead you to that goal. Ask yourself,

Based on that goal, whats the ONE THING I would need to already have done to be able to reach my goal?

And then consequently ask yourself:

And based on THAT STEP, whats the ONE THING I would need to have done in order to be on track?

Keep going, asking yourself this same question over and over until you have various scenarios, which when you put them all in order will lead you to your ultimate goal. It is important that you create your own individual game-plan. Even if you have a fear ofpublic speaking that seems the same as another person, the route you choose will be dependent on what goal you are trying to achieve. It is your own personal plan of action.

Now its time to start exposing yourself to the feared situation gradually. Yes, its time to practice speaking in front of an audience. My honest advice is to take things slowly and in your own time. If you jump in at the deep end you risk scaring yourself so much, youll never try again.

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Constantly Seek Improvement How To Overcome Public Speaking Anxiety

You cant get to the point where you no longer need to improve.

It doesnt matter if you feel you have turned into a very proficient public speaker, you should always try to improve.

Regardless of what you might think, there is always room for improvement.

Therefore, even though your presentation or speech goes smoothly, always review it.

Get feedback from someone in the audience and find out what you need to do better the next time.

If you can get a video or audio recording of the speech, watch or listen to it and review your performance.

Try Some Breathing Exercises

One thing that might happen when you experience anxiety when public speaking is that you would find yourself speaking very fast.

Breathing exercises can help you prevent this from happening.

You can focus on how you inhale and exhale take long and deep breaths and focus on it.

Doing this can help you know how to properly pace yourself when giving your speech.

Also, breathing exercises can help you stay calm and reduce your anxiety levels.

You can start doing these exercises some days before your big day, before you start your presentation or speech, and even while giving your presentation or speech.

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Find Something To Do With Your Hands

Finding something to do with your hands can help to keep anxiety at bay, even when youre just backstage and waiting for your presentation to begin. As silly as it sounds, a fidget spinner or a stress ball can help, and in fact thats essentially what theyre designed for. When youre actually on stage, youll want to leave the gadgets behind, but you can still keep your hands busy and put them to good use by gesturing with them or pointing at elements of your presentation.

What Is The Fear Of Public Speaking

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking: 3 Tips

Speech anxiety, another name for the fear of public speaking, is the stage fright a person experiences before giving an oral presentation in front of an audience. The extreme fear known as glossophobia, which can range from a mild level of apprehension to crippling panic and paralyzing fear, can be experienced by people with speech anxiety. Some people with speech anxiety may avoid public speaking altogether. Others will tremble and have sweaty palms as they deliver their speeches.

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Think Of Yourself As A Messenger

Do you know what youre going to talk about?

Whats the point of the whole talk? Figure that out. Know what youre going to talk about. Know it well.

I like to think of it this way: become the messenger.

Have a message and think of yourself as the messenger and remember that people care more about the message than the messenger. Master your message.

Side note: dont speak until you are sure you have something to say, then say it, and sit down

Set A Public Speaking Goal

What is one thing, with regard to public speaking, you would like to achieve in the next few weeks?

Your definition of success will be different from anyone else, so be specific about your goal. It might be a huge achievement if you can speak up at a departmental meeting of five people or success might mean doing a one-off speech at a conference in front of 500 peers.

Only you can decide.


Why are you wanting to overcome your public speaking? What are the deeper reasons that will keep you motivated through the tough times?

What is your idea of success? How will you know when youve achieved it? How can you measure it?

When youve decided on your main goal, write it down, or if you like, create a picture of your desired outcome. You can choose to draw, paint or make a collage from magazine photographs or use a graphic design computer program. The success plan picture will show you in your ideal scene with your goal realized and any other items that will support you in feeling your best. It is important to include yourself in the success plan.

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How I Overcame The Fear Of Public Speaking

By Adam Grant

Several years ago, I was invited to give my first public speech, and I made the mistake of saying yes. I was terrified: as a student, my heart used to race at the mere thought of raising my hand in class. For weeks beforehand, I had nightmares about forgetting my lines, waking up in a cold sweat. No matter how much I practiced, for the three days leading up to the speech, I could hardly breathe.

During the speech, nothing went terribly wrong. I was relieved until I read the feedback from the audience. Here were some highlights:

  • Try not to be so nervous. You looked like a Muppet and it seemed like you memorized every single sentence for the presentation.
  • It seems like youre reading off a teleprompter. Breathe! Too mechanical.
  • You were so tense that you were causing me to physically shake in my seat.

In the past year and a half, Ive given over 100 keynote speeches and hundreds of presentations, and things have changed dramatically. I still get nervous occasionally, but public speaking is now one of my favorite activities. Here are the five steps that have been most helpful in reducing my anxiety:

Instead of saying I am calm, people gave more compelling speeches when they said I am excited. The same was true when people were anxious before singing Journeys Dont Stop Believin, saying Im excited led to more accurate karaoke performance on than saying Im calm.

My next step is to work on improving my breathing with my uncle, Darth Vader.

Living With Public Speaking Anxiety

Iconquer Speech Anxiety &  Interview Anxiety : A Workbook to Help You ...

It can be challenging to live with public speaking anxiety, but there are ways that you can cope with your symptoms and prevent them from overwhelming you when you have to speak in front of others.

Being fully prepared is one of the most effective ways of managing public speaking anxiety, and there are many strategies you can use to make speaking situations more manageable.

These include:

During your speech or presentations, many of the audience members share your fear. Public speaking anxiety is very common, and youre not alone.

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Other Strategies For Overcoming Glossophobia

There are some strategies that you can use in combination with tradition treatment or on their own.

For example, you might find it beneficial to take a public speaking class or workshop. Many are developed for people who have glossophobia. You may also wish to check out Toastmasters International, an organization that trains people in public speaking.

Here are some other tips to help you navigate public speaking situations:

Remember To Pause How To Overcome Public Speaking Anxiety

Pausing during your speech can help you overcome public speaking anxiety.

When you pause, your audience will have the time to think about what you are saying and connect with both you and your message.

You can also use the time to slow down and make sure that you havent gone off-topic or havent been speaking too fast.

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Affirmations For Public Speaking

An affirmation can help to interrupt your usual pattern of negative thoughts.

If you have a fear ofpublic speaking, you likely have frequent negative thoughts about stumbling over your words, the audience booing or perhaps tripping up on stage. Those thoughts can stop you from giving presentations. Using positive affirmations can help to interrupt those thoughts to allow you to take action, get your message out and build up your confidence.

Even if you dont believe the positive affirmations yet, they make room for the possibility that there are different facts other than your automatic thoughts.

An example of an affirmation for public speaking will depend on what you find difficult, but here are some examples:

I have an important message to deliver which will help someone in the audience.

I speak clearly and confidently.

I am excited to speak in front of an audience.

I can make people laugh and enjoy learning.

On The Day Of The Speech

How to stop feeling anxious about anxiety | Tim Box | TEDxFolkestone

Exercise. Exercising on the day of a speech can help reduce anxiety and stress.

Use relaxation techniques. Simple relaxation techniques lessen anxiety and allow them to focus on the task at hand. Some of the most common relaxation techniques are: taking deep breaths, tightening and then relaxing your muscles, and visualizing a peaceful scene.

Accept fear and use it. Accept the fact that you are nervous and use that nervous energy to enhance your delivery. Use the extra adrenaline that you get from fear to invigorate your gestures and enthusiasm about your topic. Remember, even the best speakers get nervous, but they use it to their benefit.

Wear clothes that you feel confident in. Most of us have a few outfits that we feel particularly comfortable and confident in. These are good things to wear when you present a speech. If you feel good about how you look standing in front of your audience, you can put all of your focus on your message. You do not want to distract your audience or yourself by adjusting your clothes or hair during your speech.

Find friendly faces in the crowd. While you are speaking find one or two people in the audience that are giving you positive feedback . When you feel nervous make eye contact with those people. Their friendly faces will give you encouragement.

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After The Speech Is Over

One thing that many people don’t realize is that what you do after a speech can also affect how well you are able to handle the next time you speak. If you sit in the corner and think about all of the things that went wrong, then you’ll worry about the next speech more. If you allow yourself to feel too “relieved” as well, you’ll reinforce the idea that what you did was scary, and increase the likelihood of fear next time. Consider the following:

How Is It Diagnosed

If the fear of public speaking is affecting your daily life, it may be time to consider seeking support from a therapist or mental health professional.

A good place to start can be discussing your symptoms with a healthcare professional. They can determine whether there are any underlying causes for your symptoms and refer you to a mental health professional for further evaluation.

A psychological evaluation might be recommended to determine a diagnosis and recommend a course of treatment.

Public speaking anxiety is not its own diagnosis but rather is considered an anxiety disorder.

According to the DSM-5, you may have an anxiety disorder if:

  • your anxiety causes extreme stress, which affects your daily life
  • you avoid situations or cirumstances that cause you anxiety, or have strong anxiety if you cant
  • that you have anxiety nearly every day for more than 6 months
  • your anxiety is excessive and out of proportion to the trigger
  • theres not another mental health condition that could be causing your symptoms

If youre experiencing any of these symptoms, consider seeking professional support. Only a mental health professional can make a diagnosis.

Once a diagnosis is made, you and the doctor or therapist can work together to form a treatment plan that works for you and your symptoms.

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Why Do We Get Public Speaking Anxiety In The First Place

Neuroscience tells us that these feelings of fear and anxiety about public speaking are built within our biology.

Thanks to hundreds of thousands of years of ancestral conditioning , those increased levels of alertness/nervousness/fear we feel when faced with the prospect of addressing a crowd of people, is the result of some pretty basic behaviors triggered from the brain. Heres how Scott Berkun explains these behaviors in his book, Confessions of a Public Speaker:

Our brains identify the following four things as being very bad for survival:

  • In front of a large crowd of creatures staring at you.
  • He continues

    In the long history of all living things, any situation where all the above were true was very bad for you. It meant the odds were high that you would soon be attacked and eaten alive. Many predators hunt in packs, and their easiest prey are those who stand alone, without a weapon, on a flat area of land where there is little cover . Our ancestors developed a fear response to these situations. So, despite my 15 years of teaching classes, running workshops, and giving lectures, no matter how comfortable I appear to the audience when at the front of the room, its a scientific fact that my brain and body will experience some kind of fear before and often while Im speaking.

    What Causes Fear Of Public Speaking

    Iconquer Speech Anxiety: A Workbook to Help You Overcome Your ...

    Fear of public speaking – also known as Glossophobia – has its roots in social phobia. It comes from the fear of being judged, which stems from all the attention that people place on you when you’re speaking. Ideally, you need to be able to deliver a loud, effective speech. Yet doubts over our own ability combined with the knowledge that others are forced to pay attention to the words we share can create a feeling of fear that is tough to shake.

    Public speaking fears are also frequently reinforced. No one gives a perfect speech. If you go up there and do a great job but make a few mistakes, your mind tends to focus on the mistakes, and your fear is then confirmed.

    In addition, there is reason to believe that the modern day lifestyle makes glossophobia more common than it had been in the past. Consider the following:

    • More and more people spend their free time in less public situations, like online, which not only reduces public social interactions but also allows for complete anonymity. Those that spend a lot of time online become less used to the idea of talking in public and being judged.
    • Increasingly, people have work-related communication that requires fewer public speaking engagements. Now you can send emails, talk on the phone, or use online workrooms. No longer do you need to worry as much about others looking at you and judging you, which is a problem for future public speakers because it means less experience speaking in public.

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