Do you want to overcome your fear of public speaking? Do you feel self-conscious standing up in front of a group of people and expressing your ideas? Do fear and anxiety take over? Are you asking yourself…”how do I look? How do I sound? Am I using the right words? Do they like me?”
If this sounds painfully familiar, you’re not alone. The average person ranks the fear of public speaking above death! Everywhere you look, there is advice on how to tackle these fears.
The most common advice I see? Be prepared. Know your material. Rehearse. Breathe. This is great advice. But for the person who is experiencing the heart pounding, hands shaking, mind-going-blank variety of public speaking fear, this advice won’t work.
When we’re asked to get up in front of a group and speak, our central nervous system immediately goes into high gear. When we’re the center of attention, our central nervous system is flooded with feelings. This is normal. Nothing is wrong. It’s the way we’re designed. An enormous river of feelings and energy is simply moving through your body. For some, this feels exhilarating and exciting. For most of us, it feels terrible. That’s why our heart pounds and our hands shake. What can we do?
Fortunately, there are easy techniques you can learn that will influence and regulate all the energies and emotions that flow through your body. There are simple physical exercises and movements that calm down your nervous system and balance your energies. I use these “speaking medicine” techniques with coaching clients and teach them in workshops.
I had a client, Debra who was terrified to stand up in a work meeting and speak. No matter how much she prepared ahead of time, she still felt incredibly uncomfortable in the spotlight.
In our work together, she learned a short five minute series of “speaking medicine” exercises to do every morning before work. She often went to a private spot and did them again before going in to a meeting. Debra started speaking up at meetings, and was surprised how calm and centered she felt inside. What a difference! She became more visible and people started seeking her out to ask her opinion on important projects.
Communication and public speaking are more physical than you think. There is a way to remove the barriers and blocks that hold you back. Learning how to regulate the energies inside your body is the first step to becoming a masterful communicator.
What have you done to overcome your fear of public speaking? Please leave your comments.