FEAR OF PUBLIC SPEAKING? No way, no how, I can’t get up and talk!
Are you one of the zillions of people out there who would rather die than get up in front of a group and actually open your mouth and talk? Note, I said zillions, because YOU are not alone. More people have a fear of opening their mouth and actually talking in front of groups, than they do of actually ceasing to live.
Totally understandable, because what if you:
• Open your mouth and nothing comes out
• Make a fool of yourself
• Say something totally inept
• Forget what you were talking about
WELL, you will never know unless you try.
Most people, at some point in their lives, will be called upon to speak or present in front of at least one or two other people. Going for a job interview and selling yourself is public speaking. Anyone who wishes to ask for a raise, or make a toast, has to summon up the courage to speak in public.
YOU can do it. There are the usual tricks, such as picturing the audience naked, but that may backfire as you begin to lust after the hot guy in the front row. And then, you WILL forget what you are saying.
IF you truly wish to overcome your fear of public speaking, you must
1. PRACTICE in the mirror.
Sounds simplistic. I know. BUT, don’t just practice what you are going to say as you stand in your living room. LOOK in the mirror and note your facial expressions, taking your mind off of the words themselves.
Take a few minutes each day to still your mind. Whether you prefer meditation or daydreaming, spend time mentally preparing for your speech. Picture yourself in front of your group of one person, 100 or 1,000. What are you wearing? What are you feeling? Embrace all of the sensations; nervousness, excitement, fear, anticipation. Know that everything you feel is ok. By slowing your breath and taking time to imagine, you are opening up your mind and awakening your subconscious. In doing this and practicing this daily, you will begin to truly believe and since your mind doesn’t know the difference between make believe and reality, you are on the path to success. You are tricking your brain and your subconscious, so when you DO get up to speak, you WILL be able to succeed.
Your audience would be nervous in your situation as well. AND, they want to hear what you have to say. You would be surprised how forgiving people can be. Unless you are Dale Carnegie, you won’t be expected to be perfect, so don’t try to be. Lower expectations, don’t be so hard on yourself and BREATHE!
4. PRACTICE again
Just when you thought you had it down pat, do it one more time for your dog, cat, stuffed animals, turtle, spouse, sister etc. We tend to get embarrassed to “practice” in front of family members or friends. They do tend to be the harshest critics. BUT don’t let them say a word, merely look at them and practice.
5. CELEBRATE You!
After you make that speech, congratulate yourself with a pat on the back, a round of applause in the comfort of your shower, or buy a treat. Congratulations.