Strategies To Reduce Speaking Anxiety
Whether you’re about to lead a big presentation at work or you’re simply about to go out with friends and you’ll need to socialize with others, there are several strategies you can implement before the engagement that may help you with your speaking anxiety. These include:
There is an anxiety disorder known as social phobia that can make it harder to speak in public, and may make these strategies a bit more difficult. However, utilizing these strategies can lead to more self-confidence and comfort with the idea of speaking publicly.
Talk Slowly How To Overcome Speech Anxiety
Nothing and no one is chasing you out there.
Even if you are given a time frame to speak, you shouldnt rush your speech.
Take your words bit by bit.
The brain feels threatened when you speak hastily.
It may shut down, leaving you blank.
Pro Tip: Before a speech especially planned speeches, find out how long you are expected to speak. This will allow you to plan your speech to fit that duration of time.
What To Do On The Day Of The Speech
On the day the speech arrives, you need to make sure you do all of the little things that help your body and mind control anxiety. You need to make sure that you’re fully rested, with a good night’s sleep. You need to make sure you’re properly hydrated and that you’ve had full and healthy meals. You need to go jogging, or do something to relieve some of your muscle tension.
You should also prepare everything you need in advance, so that you don’t have any worries about whether or not you have everything ready. You can try practicing the presentation one more time and do the visualization techniques again – or you can integrate many relaxation strategies to make sure you’re calm for the day, such as:
- Progressive Muscle Relaxation
The less anxiety you experience that day, the easier a time you’ll have on the speech. The buildup can be one of the worst parts, and avoiding the buildup will decrease the way that anxiety affects you.
Finally, remind yourself that it doesn’t matter what people think. Don’t go in there worrying about everyone else. Go in there reminding yourself that you’ve done what you can, and that no matter how well it goes you’ll continue to get better.
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What Is Speech Anxiety
Speech anxiety is a nervous feeling that individuals experience before they speak to people.
It can even be as bad as panicking with just a few people in the room.
This condition is often referred to as glossophobia.
Notably, mental health surveys have shown that the fear of public speaking is the fourth most common phobia after the fear of death, heights, and snakes.
When we consider speaking in public, we get scared that we may be met with disapproval or judgment.
To overcome this fear, certain solutions from different quarters have become popular.
Ever heard Just dont look at their faces. Act like no one is there?
Or Imagine theyre all wearing clown noses.
Unfortunately, these fleeting solutions do not tackle the root cause of speech anxiety.
In most cases, they just lessen the symptoms.
Some of the symptoms of speech anxiety include sweating, a shaky voice, butterflies in the tummy, rapid heartbeat, and brain freeze.
Turn Anxiety Into Energy
When it comes to public speaking one of the best ways to overcome anxiety and nervousness is to USE the energy that your body generates as a result of you being so nervous.
One of the coolest things about being anxious is that our bodies produce various chemicals when we anticipate something were afraid of.
And this actually results in an increased amount of adrenaline and energy. But most people are too busy being afraid to actually think about channeling their anxiety into energy and enthusiasm.
The key is to use this energy when it arises to connect with your audience and deliver your message with power and purpose.
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You Might Make A Fool Of Yourself
If you stand in front of a large audience, youre vulnerable. You might do something embarrassing.
And even though that isnt the end of the world, there was a point in history where it could, in fact, have meant the end of your life.
As I write in my story on Being Embarrassed All The Time, embarrassment used to serve a really important function from an evolutionary perspective.
For a long time, our survival depended on our connections with others.
Having others devalue us was a threat to our existence, so it makes sense that those people that tried their best to be valued by others had a higher chance of survival.
This is why making ourselves vulnerable to possible embarrassment, still creates so much anxiety.
Make Notes How To Overcome Speech Anxiety
As we said, speech anxiety can result from different reasons.
Heres a tip: Write down the reasons why you dread public speaking.
With this, you can narrow it down to the main cause of your problems.
When we say write down, we do not mean that you should dwell on it of course not.
We just mean that it will help you know the things to discard or improve on.
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What Is Public Speaking Anxiety
Public speaking anxiety is essentially the fear of public speaking. The possibility or reality of speaking in public can create feelings of intense nervousness, discomfort, worry, and anxiety.
Also known as glossophobia, public speaking anxiety is classified by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th edition as a social anxiety disorder.
Public speaking anxiety is estimated to affect between 15% and 30% of the general population, according to a
When anxiety over public speaking creeps up, you may experience psychological and physical symptoms.
Some psychological symptoms you might have include:
- feelings of intense worry and nervousness
- fear, stress, and panic in public speaking situations
- feelings of dread and fear before speaking in front of others
- intrusive thoughts about public speaking
These feelings can cause you to actively avoid situations where public speaking opportunities may arise. This could include turning down a job opportunity, changing majors, or skipping out on important or meaningful events.
Public speaking anxiety can also affect you physically. You might have symptoms such as:
- heart palipations
There is no known exact cause of public speaking anxiety. But there are factors that may play a role in your anxiety about public speaking.
It may be a result of:
- personality traits, such as being shy or reserved
- past traumatic events
- high intake of caffeine or other substances
- having generalized anxiety disorder or other anxiety disorder
Tips For Dealing With Speech Anxiety
Before the speech . . .
Identify the cause of your nervousness. Write down the reasons why you are nervous to give a speech or presentation. If you come up with something like, Im afraid Ill look stupid dig a little deeper. What would make you look stupid? You may find that you are really afraid that you will forget what you wanted to say. This will help you pinpoint specific things to work on. If you are afraid you will forget what you wanted to say then spending extra time practicing your speech should reduce that anxiety.
Choose topics that you are interested in. We do not always get to choose topics that we speak about. If you are able to choose your topic pick one that interests you. It is much easier to spend time researching and preparing a presentation on a topic that you care about than one you have no interest in. You will also be more inclined to display enthusiasm about a topic that you enjoy.
Know your topic. If you have researched the topic thoroughly you will be certain that you are presenting accurate information and you will be able to answer questions that the audience may ask. These things will greatly increase your confidence.
Continue gaining experience. One of the best ways to combat speech anxiety is to gain speaking experience. Take any opportunity that you have to speak in public. Speak in your classes or volunteer to give presentations for groups you are involved in – anything that gives you a chance to hone your speaking skills.
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Im Terrified Of Public Speaking Heres What I Did One Week One Hour And One Minute Before My Speech
If you tell people youre nervous about having to speak in front of a large audience, theres about a 50 percent chance that theyll advise you to simply picture the audience naked.
Unfortunately, that advice doesnt work for me .
And believe me, Ive tried. Ive always been afraid of public speaking.
When I was young, I dreaded the yearly presentation. The whole year, I was nervous at the thought of having to stand in front of my classmates and talk about a topic for 5 minutes.
Even if it was a topic we could choose ourselves .
And it didnt get better as I got older. I dreaded having to give presentations at work. I dreaded having to teach classes. I even dreaded having to give a small speech at birthdays.
And Im not alone.
According to an infamous study conducted in 1973 by R.H. Bruskin Associates, 41% of participants cited public speaking as their greatest fear even over death.
People fear public speaking more than death.
As Jerry Seinfeld put it:
According to most studies, peoples number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death. Death is number two. Does that seem right? That means to the average person, if you have to go to a funeral, youre better off in the casket than doing the eulogy.
Living With Public Speaking Anxiety
It can be challenging to live with public speaking anxiety, but there are ways that you can cope with your symptoms and prevent them from overwhelming you when you have to speak in front of others.
Being fully prepared is one of the most effective ways of managing public speaking anxiety, and there are many strategies you can use to make speaking situations more manageable.
During your speech or presentations, many of the audience members share your fear. Public speaking anxiety is very common, and youre not alone.
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What Causes Speaking Anxiety
There are a number of reasons that a person may experience anxiety about public speaking. Before you learn how to manage it, it is important to realize exactly what causes this type of anxiety.
These are just a few examples of course. Anxiety about bullying or mocking can cause embarrassment that is strong enough to affect public speaking. Also being in situations like having to speak to a crowd of people who are of a higher status than you , having to present new ideas, or when you know you are being evaluated based on your performance, can all impact the degree of anxiety you have about public speaking.
Build Your Own Plan Of Action
The only way you can overcome your publicspeakinganxiety is to get in front of other people and practice talking. But, because you do this in your own time and only within your comfort zone, one step at a time, its not such a scary process. Working your way backwards from your ultimate goal, start creating public speaking situations that will lead you to that goal. Ask yourself,
Based on that goal, whats the ONE THING I would need to already have done to be able to reach my goal?
And then consequently ask yourself:
And based on THAT STEP, whats the ONE THING I would need to have done in order to be on track?
Keep going, asking yourself this same question over and over until you have various scenarios, which when you put them all in order will lead you to your ultimate goal. It is important that you create your own individual game-plan. Even if you have a fear ofpublic speaking that seems the same as another person, the route you choose will be dependent on what goal you are trying to achieve. It is your own personal plan of action.
Now its time to start exposing yourself to the feared situation gradually. Yes, its time to practice speaking in front of an audience. My honest advice is to take things slowly and in your own time. If you jump in at the deep end you risk scaring yourself so much, youll never try again.
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The Cure For Insecurity Is Preparation And Experience
The key to overcoming your fear of public speaking is preparation and experience. Solid preparation will leave you feeling more confident in your ability as an excellent public speaker, able to deliver a clear, engaging speech.
Experience will help you become more comfortable with the whole experience and stop you dreading that presentation. Youâll need to get out there and speak in public a few times, so join a local Toastmasters, volunteer to speak at a conference, practice in virtual reality or try any other method of overcoming your fear of public speaking.
- See our top rated public speaking courses to help you improve your speaking skills.
Rehearse To Increase Confidence
Practice but dont memorize. Theres no disputing that preparation will build confidence. Memorizing speeches will mislead us into thinking there is only one way to deliver an idea. Forgetting a phrase or sentence throw us off and hastens the brain freeze. Memorizing provides a false sense of security.
Practice with written notes. Writing out the speech may help formulate ideas. Practice speaking extemporaneously using bullet points to keep us on track.
Practice the flow of the presentation. Practice focusing on the message thats delivered instead of the precise words to use. We want to internalize the flow of the speech and remember the key points.
Practice recovering from a brain freeze. Practice recovery strategies by purposely stopping the talk and shifting attention to elsewhere. Then, refer to notes to find where we left off. Look ahead to the next point and decide what wed like to say next. Finally, well find someone in the audience to start talking to and begin speaking.
Be prepared for the worst. If we know what to do in the worst-case scenario , well have confidence in our ability to handle it. We do that by preparing what to say to the audience if our mind goes blank. Visualizing successful recovery of the worst will help us figure out what needs to be done to get back on track.
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How To Prepare For A Speech
In addition to traditional treatment, there are a number of strategies that you can use to cope with speech anxiety and become better at public speaking in general. Public speaking is like any activitybetter preparation equals better performance. When you are better prepared, it will boost your confidence and make it easier to concentrate on delivering your message.
Even if you have SAD, with proper treatment and time invested in preparation, you can deliver a successful speech or presentation.
What Do You Think
Here’s what I notice when I review this question with fearful speakers. Their strategies during a speech are designed to:
* End the speech as soon as possible
* Avoid any pauses or interruptions during the speech
* Avoid contact with the audience
* Hide the fact that they are afraid
These all involve efforts to resist and fight public speaking anxiety. They also involve efforts to resist the role of speaker, and to avoid using all the powers that come with being a speaker.
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Remember: The Audience Wants You To Succeed
Finally, if you start to get anxious, reassure yourself that the audience is on your side. Im reminded of a childrens theater performance of Mr. Poppers Penguins I saw a few years ago. At one point, one of the flippers fell off one of the penguins, and you could feel the audience getting worried. Would one of the kids trip over the flipper? Luckily, nothing happened, and the audience breathed a collective sigh of relief. The point here is that the vast majority of people want your presentation to be a success. So if you lose a flipper, dont panicjust pick it up, carry on, and imagine you can hear the audiences sigh of relief. They are in your corner.
Whether your speaking anxiety comes in the form of occasional jitters or constant dread, dont let that stop you from communicating your ideas with power and purpose. By using these strategies, youll become less anxious and more focused on being your best in every speaking situation.
Overcoming Speaking Anxiety Is The First Step
It can be a bit of a challenge to overcome speaking anxiety, specifically because it is so easy to avoid most situations where it is necessary. But if you continue to work at it, you’ll often find that in the end you can speak in public much better than you ever could in the past.
Still, make sure that you also take steps to reduce your overall anxiety. Anxiety is a cumulative disorder, and if you continue to experience severe anxiety beyond speaking anxiety, you’re likely to find it affecting your ability to speak publicly as well.
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Why Are People Afraid Of Public Speaking
It may help you to know that you are not alone in your fear of public speaking. Forty percent of Americans suffer from glossophobia.
What is glossophobia really? It is an anxiety disorder which goes beyond just being nervous or worrying about being in front of an audience.
You might feel your heart racing and find it harder to breathe. You could feel sweaty, dizzy, or nauseous. You might be shaking uncontrollably or even want to run out of the room.
Many people learn how to overcome glossophobia by taking public speaking classes.
Understanding the power of positive thinking can also help you overcome your fear of public speaking.
Whether you have glossophobia or are just nervous about your speech, the right tools will give you the confidence you need to achieve your public speaking goals.