By Ellen Egan
For those of us who have felt public speaking anxiety, we know that at the time it can feel as though it takes over all your thoughts. You may begin to wonder if there is actually any way to manage this anxiety. This is especially true if you find it is having a detrimental effect on your life because you are changing your college courses to avoid giving a class presentation or you are not advancing in your chosen career because you are avoiding delivering important internal or external presentations.
On the day of a speech or presentation, you will need to have a routine for managing anxiety. Make a routine which puts you in a positive frame of mind and allows you to maintain a relaxed state. Study some of the many books on public speaking to discover how to address your audience confidently and maintains audience interest in what you are saying.
A few tips
1. Accept some anxiety. I have a bit of nervous excitement before a performance — I call it excitement rather than fear. I think most performers say that a little anxiety actually makes you a better performer. It is normal and common to feel this way, so relax and accept that you will feel a bit of fear/excitement.
2. Estabilsh your goals.Instead of avoiding every presentation, why not set a goal to become a great public speaker? With a bit of study and practice, even those who fear presentations can become excellent public speakers. You know, Michael Jordan had to practice and practice and practice before he became a proficient basketball player. Who knows, it might even become something that you enjoy doing.
3. Keep it all in perspective. Your speech does not have to be “perfect”. This is just one aspect of your life and one set of the many sets of skills that you have. Keep this in perspective by simply making it a goal to improve your public speaking. Then if you improve a little bit each time, you will find that you have actually made great strides over time. The main thing is to learn, practice and get comfortable enough in front of an audience so that public speaking fear does not stand in the way of your goals.
To your success,