Dealing With A Fear of Public Speaking

If you are afraid to speak in public, you are not alone. When most people are told that they have to make a presentation, their emotions range from concern to absolute panic.

It’s so common that there’s even a name for it.  It’s called Glossophobia. It’s believed that up to 75 percent of people have some degree of fear when it’s time to stand in front of a group.

Symptoms of this fear include:

Increased blood pressure

Increased perspiration

Dry mouth

You might notice your muscles tightening.

You might feel nauseous.

For some people, the fear started the first time they forgot their lines during a speech when they were young in school.  But for others, it can come on suddenly..without warning.

Many who have this fear can’t control it. It might be genetic, biological, or psychological.  But most experts think it has to do with a previous bad experience. Those people can usually get better and overcome their fear…to a point.

When I work with people who are afraid to speak in front of a group, I teach them coping skills. We work on preparation techniques and giving mini speeches before pushing hard into more extensive presentations.

I’ve also had clients who needed cognitive behavioral therapy, relaxation therapy, and more professional help. But that’s not been my usual experience. I’ve had success building confidence.

So let me walk you through some initial steps.

I like to ask my clients if they can pinpoint when their fear of public speaking began. Was there an incident that triggered it?  What comes to mind when fear overtakes them?

So think about that.  Do you know when you started to feel fear before a speech?   What happened?

Does it only happen when you are unfamiliar with a topic?

Does it always happen?  If not, why do you think it only happens once in a while?  Can you identify a trigger?

Then I’d like you to close your eyes and imagine yourself giving a presentation.

Think about how you begin. Imagine yourself continuing to the very end.  You are killing it. Your audience is intrigued. There’s applause at the end.

Think about what you did right.

How did you stand?  Did you have notes?  How much did you practice?

Visualize all of these things, and write them all done. Everything you write will help you move behind your fears.

If all of this sounds familiar to you, I have some other exercises and ideas you can do to use to give yourself more confidence. It’s worked for my clients and students I teach at the university level.  Find out more HERE.

Today’s post is a printed excerpt from my new online course, “ How To Be A Better and More Confident Public Speaker. “ If you want to be a better public speaker, I know you will benefit from watching this series.

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