We’ve all seen people who seem to transform in front of our eyes – in good ways and terrible ones – when they get up to speak.
Think about the truly quiet and unassuming folks who stand up and suddenly become commanding, passionate spokespersons for their cause or organization. What is going on? These normal introverts have mastered techniques that enable them to project a confidence and professionalism they may not seem to possess at other times, just as a good actor or actress is able to do.
Helen Hayes, a world famous actress from the last century reportedly threw up before going on stage, every time. Music star Barbara Streisand is known to be exceptionally shy and hates to perform in front of live audiences. Yet, both women learned to overcome their natural tendencies and gain international acclaim for their artistry.
On the other hand, we’re surprised at what happens when an outgoing, charming individual in small groups is called to the podium. Once there, this poor soul turns bright red, starts to stammer, and looks terribly uncomfortable. He or she can barely get the words out.
What is going on here?
Fear of failure, looking foolish, and other “f” words create the anxiety that usually shows up uninvited when you speak in public. Anxiety can override your expertise, intelligence, experience, peace of mind, and well-being. But it is not a permanent condition!
I encourage you to attend my new, free webinar, “Get Rid of Anxiety in Your Leadership Speaking,” on Thursday, November 19, 12 noon ET or 7:30 pm ET. For more information or to register, please click here.
From my work with thousands of clients, I’ve grouped the anti-anxiety techniques into three categories: body, mind and mouth.
Your body can be your friend or foe, and you can learn to control its behavior with the right pre-speaking practices. For example, one recommendation is to create a “no caffeine” zone around yourself for two to three hours before an important presentation. You don’t need any more stimulation to perform well, right?
Your mind can fill with demons from the past, self-doubt and unkind thoughts. You can counteract these tendencies with practice and determination. Some of the new mindfulness approaches that are updated forms of meditation may help you.
Your mouth can seem to have a “mind” of its own sometimes! You can take charge of your words and voice through a combination of developing the right message and how deeply you practice.
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