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« Public speaking anxiety stopped, by Rachel Green »

Written by Rachel Green. Your smart emotions coach: Helping people gain positive outcomes from uneasy emotions and difficult decisions. Director of The Emotional Intelligence Institute. Professional speaker and author of "Overcome your fear of public speaking".

Public speaking anxiety stopped

Do you dread public speaking? Does public speaking leave you sweating and shaking? You are not alone! Many people suffer from public speaking anxiety. The good news is that public speaking anxiety can be overcome.

Here are just five of the many steps that may help you.

Public speaking anxiety tip 1. Search for your success trigger

In order to cure your public speaking anxiety you need to search for the best technique for you. There is no one right method that cures everyone.

For example, when I recorded a group of women I was coaching to overcome public speaking anxiety, Sam overcame her stage fright by using a new breathing technique; Amy replayed positive music memories to herself; and Melissa sent feelings of compassion and kindness to her anticipated audience. All three had huge boosts in public speaking confidence and overcame their public speaking anxiety. 

Search for the right success trigger for you.

Public speaking anxiety tip 2: Challenge your thoughts

Many people generate catastrophic thoughts about all the things that may go wrong if they have to give a presentation, and this makes them afraid to speak in public. However, these things rarely, if ever, happen.

Amy, for example, a journalist in her mid-twenties, thought there was a significant danger of her falling over flat on her face.

  • I asked her how many speakers she had seen fall over: none!
  • How many speakers had she seen that were flat on their face: none!
  • I asked her how many times she thought that I, as a professional speaker, had fallen over: none!

She needed to challenge her thinking and ditch the junk.

Do you? Do not believe something just because you think it.

Just because you think something does not make it right or true.

Regain control now: ditch the anxiety, grow the confidence and wow your audience. This down-to-earth and practical E-book, "Overcome your fear of public speaking", shows you how.

Overcome your fear of public speaking eBook $25 Add to Cart

Public speaking anxiety tip 3. Don't add fear of anxiety on top

One of the major problems with stage fright is being frightened of the anxiety itself.

Sam, an IT manager in her early forties, was like this. She was so anxious of anxiety that this was worse than the anxiety or public speaking itself. She had added fear on top of fear. It is a great way to set public speaking anxiety in concrete so it feels as though it will always be there.

I therefore suggested to Sam that a big step for her was to stop fearing the anxiety and to learn to feel comfortable with it. 

One way I encouraged Sam to do this was to start talking to herself about her anxiety symptoms as if she were a professor studying them.

For example, when she was sweating she could become curious about where all the water comes from. Does she keep a water-well under her arm pit for the occasion or does it get taken from her bladder, and anyway how much will she sweat, will it be one litre or two?

As I began talking like this Sam actually ended up laughing about her anxiety. Laughter is a great antidote for anxiety and fear. Learn to feel comfortable with anxiety and your anxiety may lessen.

I have also used this technique very successfully to overcome severe panic attacks.

Public speaking anxiety tip 4. Recall snapshots of confidence.

Public speaking anxiety can lessen when you concentrate on the good times. Instead of focusing on every bad memory of speaking in public or on everything that may go wrong, focus instead on your happy confident memories.

Whenever you are feeling good, happy or confident take a snapshot of it in your mind. Then replay the happy snapshots over and over again. Replay these while you are preparing a speech, rehearsing a speech, when you are travelling to a speech and while you wait to speak.

In one of my happy snapshots I am standing by a new pond we had built watching a dragonfly land for the first time. I was in raptures to think that the dragonfly had found our pond within ten minutes of it being finished. My smile reached right across my teeth, my eyes were bright and I was singing in my heart.

I went to an after-dinner speech later that week and I imagined the dragonfly on the microphone. No public speaking anxiety had a chance because I was as happy, it was as if I were still standing by the pond.

Public speaking anxiety tip 5. Transfer your skills.

No one has 100% confidence. No one has 100% stage fright when speaking to people. We are all confident somewhere in our lives. We are less confident in others. 

There will be something that you can do with people that does not produce the symptoms of public-speaking anxiety, whether it is talking to people at a dinner party, meeting people networking, speaking out at a meeting, or phoning a friend.

Learn what you do when you are happy and confident.

  • What are you thinking?
  • Where do you look?
  • How do you stand?
  • How do you breathe?
  • How do you sit? 

Then transfer the skills you have to public speaking.

Say goodbye to anxiety and your fear of public speaking. Say hello to relaxed and successful public speaking. Your confidence is already there waiting for you.

Want to learn more ways to overcome public speaking anxiety? I recommend this practical eBook  "Overcome your fear of public speaking", to help rid you of it. Regain your control.

Overcome your fear of public speaking eBook $25 Add to Cart


NB: Any information contained in this article is not provided as an alternative to the obtaining of psychological advice from an appropriately qualified practitioner. Rachel is not a psychologist, Dr or psychiatrist. If you have significant anxiety please seek professional help and do not rely on this for the diagnosis or treatment of any psychological problems.