When it comes to getting rid of fear of public speaking, there's no shortage of "traditional advice" usually taught in books and public speaking training workshops and classes. |
But the burning question is: does any of that traditional advice really work?
Let’s put 7 of the most commonly taught methods of handling stage fright and fear of public speaking under the microscope for examination and give each an effectiveness rating from low to high:
#1: Realize that "it's okay to be nervous":
This is worth trying, but this only works for a small percentage of people, usually best for cerebral types. Give this a try and see if giving yourself permission to be nervous makes a difference for you. Effectiveness rating: low.
#2: Have burning passion:
Traditional advice from public speaking organizations typically start with the question "what are you passionate about?" and suggest speaking about that. Focusing strongly on your passion may cause your fear of public speaking to evaporate. What's your burning passion? Can you connect that with doing public speaking? Effectiveness rating: medium high.
#3: Focus on your faith:
If you have strong faith, that can make fear of public speaking seem trivial, insignificant and even nonexistent. Strong faith can cause fear of public speaking to transform into a strong desire to help others. Effectiveness rating: medium high.
#4: Deep breathing:
Deep breathing works but not if you're already talking. Once you're up there and speaking, deep breathing isn't going to do you much good since people expect you to be speaking and not doing breathing exercises. Do your deep breathing before you get up to speak. Effectiveness rating: low.
#5: Knowing that your audience wants you to succeed:
This works for a certain segment of the population, usually people who use reason and logic to guide their behaviors. If you hold the belief steady in your mind that your audience wants you to be great, do you find that your nervousness and fear of public speaking goes away? Give it a try and if it doesn't work, there are plenty more techniques you can try. Effectiveness rating: low.
#6: Turn your nervousness into excitement:
On the surface, this is great advice because often the only real difference between the bodily sensations we feel when we experience excitement or fear of pubic speaking is just the label we put on it. Change the label from fear to excitement, and voila! - No more fear. Warning: many public speaking trainings encourage use of this technique - just be careful that you don't come across as too energetic. Being excited is great, just don't overdo it. Effectiveness rating: medium.
#7: Practice & preparation:
Practicing ahead of time can make a huge reduction in your fear of public speaking. Practice while you focus on memories of times when you've been extremely confident so that you form a solid link between feeling confident and making a presentation. Frankly, this is best done in a public speaking training where you can get expert guidance and feedback, and build up a solid base of confidence that will last a lifetime. Effectiveness rating: high.
There are many, many techniques to mitigate or eliminate fear of public speaking. Don't give up just because one or two techniques didn't work for you. The rewards of public speaking are with the effort! To accelerate & shortcut your success, get expert public speaking training.
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