How to Manage the Fear of Public Speaking
Surveys have shown that the majority of people consistently rank public speaking as their number one fear.
Why do these people fear public speaking more than death? Perhaps it's because they can only die once - but they might have to deliver more than one speech.
This fear has little to do with intelligence, age, wealth or position.
I have worked with owners and CEOs of very successful companies who confessed their uncontrollable fear of public speaking.
The fear manifests itself in many different symptoms. That might include, dry mouth, sweating, shaking, pounding heart, rumbling stomach, nervous ticks, forgetfulness, anxiety and lack of self confidence. By the way a pounding heart is a good thing. It's bad when it stops!
How can you manage this fear?
First, accept the reality that most speakers experience these symptoms some times. I know many professional speakers who have experienced pangs of anxiety while speaking. That includes me. The trick is not to let your audience know.
Second, realize that public speaking is not a talent - it is a skill. That means it must be learned. I have not yet encountered any good naturally talented speakers. On the other hand I have seen many bad naturally talented speakers.
Third, focus on managing the symptoms and get comfortable with the fear. Accept the anxiety as a given. Simply become comfortable with it and welcome it.
It might sound funny but this is all a mind game. So play along. The physical and emotional symptoms that you experience are simply an expression of your mind. You can control what your mind thinks. It will take some conscious mind-over-body effort, but you can do it if you want.
Next steps for you?
Learn the techniques to be a better speaker, Prepare and practice. Focus on your purpose and message and not on your symptoms. Allow yourself to be imperfect. Accept that you are a work in process.
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Executive Speech Coach, Business presentation tips from George Torok, the Speech Coach for Executives.