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What Methods Can You Use To Control Speech Anxiety

Practice Confident Body Language

HOW TO REDUCE SPEECH ANXIETY: 5 Simple & Powerful Tips

Body language is a primary way in which your audience will interpret both you and your presentation. Practice standing up straight with your shoulders back. Relax your facial muscles and smile as much as possible. The more confident you appear, the more confident you’re likely to feel.

Related: 13 Ways To Show Confidence Through Body Language

What Should I Do When I Start Feeling Anxious While Giving My Speech

Nerves are normal! In fact, many people experience butterflies in their stomach before giving a speechwhich can actually be beneficial. This type of physiological response is often referred to as a fight-or-flight response: when our bodies prepare for stressful situations by releasing adrenaline into our system. Feelings of anxiety are nothing more than heightened emotions, so its important not to fight against them but instead lean into the fear and ride the wave of anticipation that precedes most speeches.

What Are The Symptoms Of Speech Anxiety

The symptoms of speech anxiety can vary depending on the person but the common ones include shaking, sweating, butterflies in the stomach, dry mouth, rapid heartbeat, and squeaky voice.

For some people, they may only experience a small amount of anxiety, while others have extreme symptoms that affect their ability to speak.

Everyone will feel anxious at some point in their life, but if youre feeling extreme levels of anxiousness before or during public speaking engagements, then you may want to make an appointment with a mental health professional.

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Remember Why Youre There

Usually you are on stage because people value your expertise and knowledge – or at the very least, whoever has put you there has confidence in your capability. You might be speaking about a recent publication, or a branch of research you successfully tested.

Use this thought to try and relax – people arenât there to give you a hard time. In fact, most people are probably just grateful itâs you speaking on stage and not them!

To ensure you connect with your audience, you need to plan your speech accordingly. For example, donât use jargon or acronyms if your audience is from a different industry to yours. Keep your language and your slides as simple as possible.

How Common Is Speech Anxiety

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Public speaking is a potent fear. Studies have shown that, at any given time, as much as 77% of the population has some level of anxiety regarding public speaking. This fear is so common that it has even been termed the most universal of all phobias.

However, up to 40% of the population have intense debilitating discomfort and fear when speaking in public- glossophobia. This is because the others have a moment of unease but are able to conquer it quickly.

For some people, they may even be unable to make the speech at all or become incoherent when giving the speech. This is because anxiety triggers stress hormones making it hard to concentrate and even think.

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What To Do Before And After The Event

Before the public speaking event

Use these tips to help deal with your fear before an event:

  • Greet audience members as they enter the room youâll be presenting in. Knowing a few of them before you start will ensure you have a few friendly faces you can look at during the presentation
  • Do the breathing exercises detailed below this section to slow down your heartrate
  • Check that your slides and laptop are working with the projector
  • Drink some water to prevent a dry mouth
  • Perform some vocal exercises to warm up your voice before a speech

After the public speaking event

Itâs a good idea to reflect on your speech afterwards. Dale Carnegie once said about public speaking, âThere are always three speeches, for every one you actually gave. The one you practised, the one you gave, and the one you wish you gave.â

For that speech you wish you gave, this is why you need to invest some time to reflect in your performance. Be honest with yourself on three points â what was good about your speech, what didnât work about your speech and what could have been improved?

If you have trusted friends who were part of your audience, run through these questions with them to obtain a better and more diverse perspective.

Have Someone Review Your Presentation

Sometimes we get in our own heads about our presentations, and it can be helpful to have someone we are close with who can still remain objective review the speech to provide feedback before presenting in front of the audience.

If you can, have someone else you trust listen to your speech for personalized public speaking help. Choose someone that would be considered close to the audience youre planning to present to in order to get the best feedback.

This tip follows the principle of exposure therapy, which has you confront your fear of speaking in front of someone by speaking in front of someone.

Starting small with an audience of one who can give you positive feedback will help you visualize just speaking to that one person when it is time to give your speech from your introductory statement to the end of your speech if needed.

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Dont Write Out Your Script

Another strategy for dealing with speaking anxiety is to stop writing out scripts for your presentations. You might think, But wait! I need my script so that I dont forget anything! However, using a script can actually contribute to feelings of anxiety.

Of course, you need to practice what youre going to say as much as possible. But dont become too obsessive about remembering everything word for word. If you do, anxiety will set in the second you forget exactly how you phrased something the week or the night before. What word did I use again? Wait, did I just repeat myself? Theres only one point left, right? And so on. If the only way you can present effectively is by memorizing a script, youre setting yourself up for an avalanche of anxiety if you forget something. The solution is to find a middle ground between rigidity and completely winging it. Be prepared with a general structure and key points to your presentation, but give yourself room to speak off the cuff too. When you stop obsessing over scripts, youll feel freer and less anxious. And dont be afraid to use technology as a tool in speech prompting!

Always Seek To Improve

Public Speaking Anxiety Tips

No one ever stops growing. Even if you gave the best speech possible, there are always ways to improve.

Stop focusing on perfection and focus on delivering the best you can at this point in time, then go back, review, and learn to improve for your next amazing speech.

If there is a video of your speech, watch it and make notes on how you can improve on it for next time.

  • How do you think you did?
  • Are there areas you think you could have improved?
  • Did you seem stiff or make any weird facial expressions?
  • Did you use a PowerPoint presentation to your advantage? Did it help?
  • Did you use um often?
  • How was your rhythm?

Write everything down and keep practicing to improve. In time, you will banish all of your fears of public speaking.

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Benefits To Your Community

The benefits of public speaking are endless when it comes to community. Through public speaking, you and your community members can gain exposure and build the strong connections it takes to inspire change and get things donewhether its at your childrens school, for a local development initiative, or for a global action cause.

Benefits To Your Organization

Your ability to speak and present well will add to your credibilityand, if you’re also authentic, will build trust. And that means the company benefits as you successfully work with others to drive new ideas and critical projects forward.

Whether or not you aspire to move into management, remember that leadership is marked by the ability to accomplish tasks while inspiring others to do the same. Your company can only benefit from people who employ excellent communication to lead the business forward.

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Take A Public Speaking Class

One of the best ways to improve public speaking and your comfort with it and leave the fear of public speaking in your past is to take public speaking courses.

There are many options out there whether you take them at the university level or online in your spare time.

Invest in yourself as a public speaker as you would by going to school to earn a degree or certification for a better-paying job. While many speakers start out by giving speeches for free, the typical compensation for a public speaking event is $4,500 to $7,500.

The right training tools can help you become a six-figure speaker too.

Use Positive Imaging: Visualize Success

Ministry Of Health Clinical Practice Guidelines Anxiety

Mental images can influence your anxiety either positively or negatively . Prepare to present your speech by countering negative catastrophic thoughts with positive successful images, sometimes called visualization. This can be a very effective strategy for addressing your speech anxiety . Novice speakers typically imagine what will go wrong during a speech. To avoid this pitfall, create images in your head that picture you giving a fluent, clear, and interesting speech. Picture your audience responding in positive ways as you give your speech. Exercise mental discipline and refuse to allow negative, disaster thoughts to creep into your consciousness. Keep imagining speaking success, not failure.

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Strategies For Dealing With Speaking Anxiety

By Anett Grant

A few years ago, I had a terrifying experience while diving with sharks in the Maldives. The instructor told me, You go first. And dive down quicklythe currents are big today. I felt a pang of anxietyI was used to going down slowly. Still, I dove in. When my descent ended, I looked around and saw nothing but deep blue around me. Since I had been the first to jump in, I had no reference pointnothing but blue above me, below me, ahead of me, and behind me. I had been diving for decades, but for the first time, I felt an incredible sense of panic. It wasnt until I looked on my depth gauge that the anxiety subsided a little. By keeping my vision trained on my depth gauge, something familiar to focus on, I was able to stay calm until the other divers entered the water.

Perhaps you feel the same way I felt underwater whenever you speak in front of a crowd. You get a similar feeling of panic, of disorientation. To overcome these feelings, you need to find your own depth gauge to focus on. You need to give your brain something to do other than ruminate over your insecurities.

Here are five strategies to focus on that will alleviate your speaking anxiety:

Detailed Guide For Overcoming Your Fear Of Public Speaking

Updated February 16, 2021 – Dom Barnard

Public speaking is a common form of anxiety and fear. Over 75% of people experience some degree of anxiety or nervousness when it comes to speaking in front of others.

People who have been surveyed commonly rank this fear above spiders, heights and death. So the first thing to remember is that your fear is totally normal.

It can range from slight nervousness to paralyzing fear and panic, with more extreme fear known as glossophobia. Many people with this fear avoid public speaking situations altogether, or they suffer through them with shaking hands and a quavering voice.

But with preparation and experience, you can overcome your fear.

Sections in this article:

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Perform Your Speech In Front Of A Mirror

Practice your speech in front of the mirror as if you were speaking directly to someone. If you really want to learn how to overcome stage fright, then pay attention to:

  • Your facial expressions
  • Your body movements
  • How welcoming you appear

When you have gentle expressions and a calm demeanor when you speak, you will be more welcoming to your audience.

Focus On The Audience Not On Yourself

Hacking Your Speaking Anxiety: How Lessons from Neuroscience Can Help You Communicate Confidently

During your speech, make a point of establishing direct eye contact with your audience members. By looking at individuals, you establish a series of one-to-one contacts similar to interpersonal communication. An audience becomes much less threatening when you think of them not as an anonymous mass but as a collection of individuals.

A colleague once shared his worst speaking experience when he reached the front of the room and forgot everything he was supposed to say. When I asked what he saw when he was in the front of the room, he looked at me like I was crazy. He responded, I didnt see anything. All I remember is a mental image of me up there in the front of the room blowing it. Speaking anxiety becomes more intense if you focus on yourself rather than concentrating on your audience and your material.

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Glossophobia: More Than A Common Fear Of Speaking

Most of us have experienced some sort of fear when speaking in public. However, a person with glossophobia is unable to control their nerves and has an extremely strong fear of public speaking, sometimes to the point of a nervous breakdown.

With this can come uncontrollable trembling, sweating, and a racing heartbeat.

This anxiety may not be confined to speaking to large audiences â people suffering with glossophobia may struggle to speak in a meeting, classroom and other smaller group settings.

This can make it very difficult for sufferers to communicate verbally in order to express their ideas and thoughts. As a result, glossophobia may hamper the suffererâs ability to further his or her academic, social or career opportunities.

Why The Brain Freezes

The pre-frontal lobes of our brain sort our memories and is sensitive to anxiety. Dr. Michael DeGeorgia of Case Western University Hospitals, says: If your brain starts to freeze up, you get more stressed and the stress hormones go even higher. That shuts down the frontal lobe and disconnects it from the rest of the brain. It makes it even harder to retrieve those memories.

The fight or flight response activates complex bodily changes to protect us. A threat to our safety requires immediate action. We need to respond without debating whether to jump out of the way of on oncoming car while in an intersection. Speaking to a crowd isnt life threatening. The threat area of the brain cant distinguish between these threats.

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Turn Your Nervous Energy Into Enthusiasm

Nervousness and excitement often feel the same in the body. So, if you’re feeling especially nervous before a presentation, turn this into enthusiasm by using that nervousness to pump yourself up. Focus on being excited to make the presentation and tell yourself that the anxiousness you’re feeling is actually positive energy in anticipation of sharing your knowledge with others.

Know Your Audienceand Relate To Them

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Are they bottom-line focused, or do they want the soup-to-nuts presentation?

If it’s a get-to-the-point crowd , get to the point. For most other audiences, just remember you have the knowledge your audience wants. Help them better relate to your message by tapping into their emotions and needs. Share a few illuminating stories to keep it real and meaningful.

In other words, tailor your content to what your audience cares about.

Here are a few thoughts from Sarah Palmer, Power Speaking, Inc. Director of Business Development, EMEA…

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Take The Stage By Surprise

One of the most effective methods for dealing with speech anxiety is to simply go ahead and do it. Even if youre not entirely prepared, its better to just take the stage by surprise. You can even practice beforehand so that you know what to expect.

This may seem like a risky method, but I guarantee it will help you conquer your fear in the long run. If someone asks for a speech and you say yes without thinking about it, there will be no time to worry about whether or not you are going to panic or become overwhelmed.

And if you are panicking while giving a speech, people will know that youre nervous because they can see it on your face. However, this wont last forever as soon as you start talking, your adrenaline will take over and everything will be fine!

Focus On The Story Youre Telling Not Your Audiences Thoughts

When youve already done your research on your audience prior to your speech, you know what they want or need to hear from your speech.

Because of this, you should rest well knowing your message will resonate.

There is always going to be someone in the audience on their phone or yawning. Remember that there will always be people who are bored or tired. None of these audience reactions have anything to do with you personally.

So then just focus on conveying that message or telling that story instead of what you think the audience is thinking while giving your speech.

Some of the most important public speaking help I can give you is to be yourself. Let your personality come through as you are talking to your audience and they will connect with you on a human level and want to hear more from you.

So get out of your head, focus on your story and wait for the applause at the end.

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