Have you ever questioned what you are truly afraid of in public speaking? Personally, I am glad that you are nervous; if you’re not, then something is wrong. All the greats – from professional athletes to entertainers are nervous. And, they will tell you so. It is their nervousness, however, that enhances their abilities. |
Are you afraid of making a fool of yourself by making a mistake? You needn’t be. Consider every President you have ever heard speak. Every single one has said something wrong and, in a sense, made himself look a bit ridiculous. It is not the end of the world and it certainly did not end their careers. Vice President Joe Biden says foolish things constantly; and, it hasn’t stopped him.
Mistakes are made in public speaking just as they are made in live acting, sporting events, and musical performances. It is unavoidable. It is also not something that the actor, the athlete, the musician, or the President worries about. Mistakes are made on the radio and on television news broadcasting as well and you probably are unaware of most of them.
If you know your material (and I mean know it by practicing it out loud many times), look your audience in the eye, and show some emotion when speaking, then do not worry about forgetting your place or making a mistake. Your audience is not worried about it so why should you? If you make many mistakes, however, then you are not prepared and that is your mistake.
Concerned about what to do with your nervousness? Try breathing. Better yet, try breathing with the support of your diaphragm. As a voice coach, I teach others how to breathe diaphragmatically in order to discover their true voice. That same supported breathing is the best means of controlling your nervousness in any form of public speaking.
Stop worrying about what could go wrong and instead concentrate on what will go right. Treat your audience as if you were having a conversation with them in your living room and you will be surprised at how much more successful you will be with your delivery.
Life may be risky. But not attempting public speaking because of fear is actually riskier if it jeopardizes or impedes your business or personal success. To change the famous quote just a bit: It is better to have tried and made a mistake or two, then never to have tried at all.
The Voice Lady Nancy Daniels offers private, corporate and group workshops in voice and presentation skills as well as Voicing It!, the only video training program on voice improvement. For more information on upcoming workshops, visit Voice Dynamic.
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