For most people, speaking in public can be scary, but it doesn’t have to be. Fear of public speaking is all in the mind. Here are some suggestions to work with your mind to ease the fear and deliver a better, more comfortable speech.
Before the Talk
Know your stuff. It’s much easier to be confident if you know what you are talking about.
If you aren’t going to use technology, practice without technology.
If you are going to use technology, practice with technology and without technology, because you just might have to give your talk without technology.
Remember a time when you felt very calm and awake. Breathe that in. Really get into that feeling. Breathe it in.
Remember a time when you really suceeded at something and it felt easy. Get into that feeling. Breathe it in.
Imagine that you are giving the talk that you are going to give. Imagine the room, the time of day, what you will be wearing, the people in the room. Imagine that they are people that you like and are comfortable with. Use as much detail as you have and let your subconscious fill in the rest. Imagine the talk from the beginning to the end. Notice that you feel relaxed; you are easily and smoothly delivering your message. Notice yourself pausing and breathing frequently during your talk.
Practice this at least twice a day, usually morning and night. It only takes a few minutes. Practice standing up, unless you are giving your talk sitting down.
Just Before the Talk
Chew gum. It keeps your mouth moist and chewing brings your mind to a more relaxed state.
Take a walk. It helps reduce muscle tension.
You can use that time to visualize giving the talk, just like you have been practicing. Use that time to notice yourself taking some slow deep breaths.
During the Talk
Get rid of the gum.
Have water with you. Water does two things. It keeps your mouth from getting dry and just as important it gives you a natural reason to pause.
Get grounded. This part is literal. Sometimes, if someone is nervous, they feel ungrounded, weak in the knees. Feel your feet on the ground. Shift your weight from side to side.
Take a deep breath in and notice the feeling of your chest expanding. All this is to get you out of your head to let your subconscious work for you.
Tighten your muscles, hold for a second then let go.
The most important thing is breathing.
Unless you pass out, you are going to keep breathing. Even if you pass out, you will start breathing again anyway. Make it easier for everyone and keep breathing. Make it slow, make it deep. This creates a natural pause between sentences. The more time you spend breathing, the fewer words you have to say.
Do not make eye contact with strangers! It can mess you up. Unless you are talking to a really small group and you are already at eye level, look just over people’s heads while you slowly scan back and forth. It Is fine to glance at someone who is supporting you. Don’t take people’s facial expressions personally. Unless a person is actually pointing at you, you have no idea why a person is making the face they are. If they look angry, sad, sick or tired, it probably has absolutely nothing to do with you. If they are smiling, nodding, laughing at the right time, it’s all about you.
Remember: breathe deeply and slowly, take small water breaks and stay grounded. FBN
By Don Berlyn