Butterflies in your tummy, sweaty palms and a dry mouth can become things of the past if you follow these few simple steps to turn your public speaking nerves on their head.
Glossophobia, the fear of speaking in public as it is better known, is regularly listed as the most common of all phobias and many books have been written about how to overcome this state of mind.
In my work it is often the one thing that motivates people to make contact with me and frequently turns out to be masking of an altogether different emotion.
Indulge me if you will…
I want you to imagine you have been invited to deliver a presentation to a group of important officials about your absolute field of expertise. You have had a fortnight to prepare and the presentation is written and rehearsed (finally). You will be speaking for 20 minutes and will be handling questions at the end of the session (time permitting). You know precisely where you will be meeting and what you are going to be wearing and someone else is sorting out the IT for you (hooray).
An added pressure is that your overall ‘performance’ will determine whether or not you gain a long overdue promotion at work which will attract a hefty pay rise (and I mean a seriously hefty pay rise). You have to deliver the presentation tomorrow and, if successful, will start your new job on the first of next month so those extra pounds will soon be in the bank.
So, how have you been feeling?
- Have you been suffering with an upset tummy (butterflies), sleepless nights and heart palpitations?
- Have you convinced yourself it will all be a disaster, that you will forget everything you want to say and make a complete fool of yourself and?
- Have you started to think you should never have put yourself forward for this stupid promotion in the first place and stand no chance of success?
All of the above are perfectly reasonable emotions and would be experienced by many in the same situation but what if we took some time to listen to what is REALLY going on here? What if we could ‘re frame’ our feelings and come up with some strategies and techniques to concentrate on making your presentation a HUGE success and that ‘hot shot’ promotion a reality?
So, what have you been feeling?
- What if the emotions you are experiencing are not ALL based around fear?
- What if the world becoming your oyster is almost too incredible to bear and you are feeling the exact emotions you felt as a child when you secretly hoped for a Scalextric, a new Chopper bicycle (the link takes you to a Chopper Owners Club!) or a Tiny Tears that really cried?
- What if these physical symptoms are not, in truth, a fear of messing up with the presentation but are in some way related to the fear of not being able to spend those extra earnings on holidays, houses or pension provisions?
We forget that the physical symptoms of anxiety and excitement are incredibly similar. Somewhere between childhood and adulthood these emotions become confused and ‘fear’ becomes the dominant label.
So, how can you change your perspective?
- How would things feel if you chose to embrace the excitement?
- How much more engaging and ‘real’ would you be in the delivery of the presentation if you used the excitement positively?
- How much easier would it be for the interview panel to make the ‘right’ decision’ if they could see how excited you were about the job in hand.
They say a change is as good as a rest so next time you start to feel ‘anxious’ stand back, change your perspective and leave the rest to success!
Bye for now.