Unveiling the Anxiety of Speaking to People
Do you feel anxious when faced with the prospect of speaking to people? You are not alone. Many individuals experience anxiety in social situations, especially regarding verbal communication. This blog aims to explore the nature of this anxiety, discuss its normalcy in public speaking, delve into the fear associated with speaking to people, and understand how anxiety contributes to the fear of talking.
Understanding the Anxiety of Speaking to People
What is the Anxiety of Speaking to People?
The anxiety of speaking to people refers to the apprehension, nervousness, and discomfort individuals experience when communicating verbally with others. It can manifest in various forms, such as social anxiety, performance anxiety, or specific phobias related to speaking in public. The fear of judgment, criticism, or the anticipation of saying something wrong can trigger anxiety, making it challenging to communicate effectively.
Social anxiety is a type of anxiety that arises from the fear of being judged, embarrassed, or humiliated in social situations. When speaking to people, individuals with social anxiety may experience excessive self-consciousness, worry about being the centre of attention, and fear being negatively evaluated by others.
Performance anxiety, often associated with public speaking, is the fear of performing inadequately or being scrutinised by an audience. The pressure to deliver a flawless presentation or speech can trigger intense anxiety, leading to physical symptoms such as rapid heartbeat, sweating, trembling, and mental distress.
Some individuals may have specific phobias related to speaking in public or certain social situations. These phobias can arise from traumatic past experiences or learned associations, causing an intense fear response when confronted with similar problems. Such phobias can significantly impact an individual's communication and engagement ability.
Is Anxiety Normal in Public Speaking?
Examining Anxiety in Public Speaking
Anxiety in public speaking is a common occurrence, even among seasoned speakers. It is perfectly normal to feel a certain level of anxiety before presenting to a group of people. The adrenaline rush and heightened state of alertness can enhance performance and focus. However, excessive anxiety that interferes with one's communication ability must be addressed.
The Yerkes-Dodson Curve
The Yerkes-Dodson curve illustrates the relationship between anxiety and performance. This curve shows moderate anxiety levels can enhance performance, leading to increased motivation, focus, and energy. However, performance declines due to excessive nervousness and mental overload when anxiety levels become too high.
Managing Anxiety in Public Speaking
To manage anxiety in public speaking, individuals can employ various strategies. These may include:
Understanding Glossophobia: The Fear of Speaking to People
The fear of speaking to people is commonly known as glossophobia. It is an intense fear or anxiety associated with speaking in front of others. Glossophobia can range from mild discomfort to extreme distress, causing individuals to avoid public speaking situations. This fear can hinder personal and professional growth, limiting opportunities for self-expression and engagement.
The Impact of Glossophobia
Glossophobia can have profound effects on individuals' lives. It can lead to missed opportunities, hinder career advancement, and limit personal growth. The fear of speaking to people can create significant stress and anxiety, negatively impacting self-esteem and overall well-being.
While glossophobia can be challenging to overcome, it is not insurmountable. Here are a few strategies to help individuals face and conquer their fear:
Why Anxiety Causes a Fear of Talking
Unraveling the Connection between Anxiety and the Fear of Talking
Anxiety can cause a fear of talking due to several factors:
Cognitive distortions, such as overgeneralising, catastrophising, and personalising, can further fuel anxiety and the fear of talking. These distorted thought patterns create a biased lens through which individuals interpret social interactions, leading to heightened anxiety and avoidance behaviours.
Breaking the Cycle
Breaking the cycle of anxiety and fear of talking involves challenging negative thoughts and adopting more realistic and positive perspectives. Cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) techniques, such as cognitive restructuring and exposure therapy, can help address these cognitive distortions and gradually reduce anxiety.
Overcoming Anxiety and Embracing Effective Communication
If you find yourself experiencing anxiety when it comes to speaking to people, remember that it is a common challenge faced by many. By understanding the nature of this anxiety, acknowledging its normalcy in public speaking, and recognising its fear, you can take steps towards overcoming your anxiety.
Seeking professional support, practising relaxation techniques, and gradually exposing yourself to social situations can help manage and reduce anxiety. Remember that effective communication is a skill that can be learned and improved upon. With time, patience, and self-compassion, you can conquer your anxiety and develop confidence in your ability to communicate with others.
So, take a deep breath, step out of your comfort zone, and embrace the journey of growth and self-expression. You can overcome your anxiety and communicate with clarity, confidence, and authenticity.
If you resonate with the experiences described in this blog and struggle with anxiety when speaking to people, know that you are not alone. Take the first step towards overcoming your anxiety by seeking professional support, joining public speaking groups, or enrolling in communication courses. Embrace the journey of growth and self-expression, and remember that with practice, patience, and self-compassion, you can develop the confidence to communicate effectively with others. Don't let anxiety stop you from expressing your thoughts and connecting with people. Start your journey today and unlock your full communication potential.
© Presence Training
With the rise of remote work and virtual communication, Zoom meetings have become essential for many professionals. However, speaking confidently on a video call can be challenging, especially if you're unfamiliar with virtual communication.
Here are Some Tips and Tricks for Speaking Confidently During Zoom meetings
Prepare in Advance
One of the keys to speaking confidently during a Zoom meeting is preparation. Before the meeting, review the agenda, prepare any necessary materials, and practice your talking points. This will help you feel more confident and in control during the meeting.
Check Your Technology
Technical issues can be a significant source of anxiety during a Zoom meeting. To avoid any surprises, make sure to test your technology in advance. Check your internet connection, camera, microphone, and other tools or software. This will help ensure a smooth and seamless meeting experience.
Dress for Success
While dressing down for a virtual meeting may be tempting, dressing professionally can help boost your confidence and credibility. Choose an outfit that makes you feel confident and put-together, and avoid distracting patterns or colours.
Practice Good Posture
Good posture can also help you feel more confident and in control during a Zoom meeting. Sit up straight, firmly planted on the ground, and avoid slouching or leaning. This will help you appear more engaged and attentive and project confidence and professionalism.
Speak Clearly and Slowly
When speaking on a video call, speaking clearly and slowly is essential. This will help ensure your message is conveyed effectively and avoid misunderstandings or miscommunications. Take your time when speaking, and enunciate each word to ensure you're understood.
Use Visual Aids
Visual aids can be a powerful tool for communicating effectively during a Zoom meeting. Use slides, charts, or other visual aids to help illustrate your points and keep your audience engaged. This can also help you feel more confident and in control during the meeting.
Engage Your Audience
Engaging your audience is key to speaking confidently during a Zoom meeting. Make eye contact with the camera, and speak directly to your audience as if speaking to them in person. Ask questions, encourage participation, and listen actively to their responses.
Be Prepared for Questions
During a Zoom meeting, your audience may ask you questions. To feel more confident and prepared, anticipate the types of questions you might be asked, and prepare your answers in advance. This will help you respond quickly and confidently during the meeting.
Distractions can be a significant source of anxiety during a Zoom meeting. To avoid unnecessary stress, try to eliminate potential distractions before the meeting starts. Close any unnecessary windows or applications, silence your phone, and ensure you're in a quiet, distraction-free environment.
Use Positive Self-Talk
Positive self-talk can be a powerful tool for boosting your confidence during a Zoom meeting. Before the meeting starts, take a few minutes to remind yourself of your strengths and capabilities. Repeat positive affirmations to yourself, such as "I am confident and capable", to help you feel more self-assured.
Follow Up After the Meeting
Following up after the meeting can help you feel more confident and in control. Take some time to review the meeting notes, reflect on your performance, and identify areas for improvement. This will help you feel more prepared and confident for your next Zoom meeting.
Finally, seeking feedback from others can be a powerful tool for improving your confidence and performance during Zoom meetings. Ask your colleagues or supervisor for feedback on your performance, and be open to constructive criticism. Use this feedback to identify areas for improvement and work on developing your skills and abilities.
More Zoom Meetings Tips and Tricks for Speaking Confidently
In addition to the previous tips and tricks, you can use several more strategies to speak confidently during Zoom meetings. This section will explore ten more tips and tricks to help you become a more effective virtual communicator.
Use Nonverbal Communication
Nonverbal communication can be as important as verbal communication during Zoom meetings. Use hand gestures, facial expressions, and other nonverbal cues to help illustrate your points and convey your emotions. This can help you connect with your audience and build rapport during the meeting.
Use lighthearted jokes or anecdotes to break the ice and help your audience feel more comfortable. Using humour can also effectively connect with your audience and build rapport during a Zoom meeting. Just make sure to avoid offensive or inappropriate humour.
Use Active Listening
Active listening is a crucial skill for effective in-person and virtual communication. Listen actively to your audience during the Zoom meeting and respond appropriately to their questions and comments. This will help build trust and foster a more collaborative and productive meeting environment.
Use Mirroring Techniques
Mirroring techniques can also help you build rapport and connect with your audience during a Zoom meeting. Use similar body language and gestures to your audience to help build empathy and create a sense of familiarity. This can help establish a more comfortable and productive meeting environment.
Use Positive Reinforcement
Positive reinforcement can be a powerful tool for motivating and encouraging your audience during a Zoom meeting. Use positive language and affirmations to reinforce positive behaviours and outcomes. This can help create a more positive and productive meeting environment.
Use Visualization Techniques
Visualization techniques can also help build confidence and reduce anxiety during a Zoom meeting. Before the meeting starts, take a few minutes to visualize yourself speaking confidently and effectively. This can boost your confidence and prepare you for a successful meeting.
Use Mindfulness Techniques
Mindfulness techniques can also help reduce anxiety and stay focused during a Zoom meeting. Take a few deep breaths before the meeting starts, and use mindfulness techniques such as meditation or visualization to remain centred and present. This can help you feel more in control and confident during the meeting.
Use Power Poses
Power poses can also effectively boost your confidence and project authority during a Zoom meeting. Stand or sit confidently, upright, with your shoulders back and chest out. This can help you feel more powerful and in control and project confidence and authority to your audience.
Use Clear and Concise Language
Using clear and concise language is key to effective virtual communication. Avoid using complex jargon or technical terms, and instead, use simple, straightforward language that is easy for your audience to understand. This will help ensure that your message is conveyed effectively and that everything is clear and clear.
Use a Clear and Professional Background
Finally, a clear background can help you appear more polished and professional during a Zoom meeting. Choose a simple, clutter-free background free of distractions, and avoid any potentially offensive or inappropriate imagery. This will help you appear more professional and credible to your audience.
Speaking confidently during a Zoom meeting can be challenging, but with the right tips and tricks, you can improve your skills and feel more self-assured. By preparing in advance, dressing for success, using visual aids, engaging your audience, and avoiding distractions, you can project confidence and professionalism during your next virtual meeting. Remember to use positive self-talk, seek feedback, and follow up after the meeting to continue improving your skills and confidence.
Using gestures during your public speeches and presentations is a great idea. They add a layer of expression and meaning you can’t convey otherwise, making it easier for the audience to follow your message. The expression “talking with your hands” exists for a reason since gestures are an equally important part of the conversation, as they underline certain points we try to make or distract from others.
If you’re using a lectern, you should grasp it on both sides. Standing in the middle of the podium, you should let your arms relax by your sides. You should do your best to avoid clasping your hands, crossing your arms for long periods, clasping your hands behind your back, gripping the bottom of a podium, rubbing your hands, tenting your hands, putting them in your pockets and so forth. Having your hands in a comfortable, neutral resting position will help make you appear confident and at ease, even when you feel otherwise.
The best way to make your hands and arms useful in a public speaking scenario is to use them to underline your points. Did you have a rise in profits or some statistics last year? Show that with your hand. Do you need to work together on a project with someone? Show that with a gesture. The best types of gestures that are most helpful in a scenario of this kind are the ones that depict something involving more than just the hands and the upper body, but they are away from the torso with the elbows bent and kept closed. Deliver your gestures with open hands, but avoid pointing fingers and balling your hands in a fist.
There is no specific rule about how little or how much you should use gestures. This is part of how public speaking generally works, and it depends on factors such as tone, audience, subject matter and your personal style of speaking. If you feel you’re putting too many gestures into your presentations, that’s entirely up to your preference.
This mostly comes into focus when you’re working your speech from a script. Public speaking uses gestures that need to appear natural, so you would do well to leave putting them in with a forced attempt at coming across as genuine. If you rehearsed it, things wouldn’t come across as spontaneous.
It would be best to avoid repetitive gestures since the audience will catch on and get distracted by your movements. Many speakers out there accordion their hands back and forth, pumping their hands to emphasise a point and other similar gestures. A few in a row won’t be too much, but overusing specific gestures will start distracting from the actual message.
Instead of giving into repetitive motions or flailing of hands, keep your hands uninvolved in the conversation unless you need to emote at specific moments to underline a point. Hands need to be in a neutral place, so you won’t distract the audience when you’re not making a point. Your gestures need to underline words and specific sentences in your speech, as anything more would defeat the purpose of using gestures. If your hands move nonstop, you’re going too far.
Have you ever been on the receiving end of an excellent presentation? If that is the case, you probably suspect that giving a presentation isn't exactly an easy task. It's not about the slides, speaking or presenting plenty of data to a room full of professionals; anyone can do that. What it involves is something a bit more special. People worldwide want to share general knowledge, insights and information in ways that connect with the audience. So how do we do that? First, you need to put yourself in the position of your audience, asking a few important questions:
Focus on Feelings
Most presentations out there have to be supported with hard data and facts to maintain credibility, so it's essential to keep that in mind. Data is not enough, however, as feelings also matter in this case. If you focus on the purely intellectual and data-driven side of things, you will not be able to reach your audience the right way. They may be professionals, but they're also human beings. Decide what you want your audience to sense as emotions, prepare for it, and give your presentation with that emotion in mind.
Surprise the Audience
People's opinions regarding surprises are usually divided, as some people love them, but others dislike them. For the most part, when it comes to presentations, your audience will enjoy a good surprise that makes sense. A good presentation starts when you think you will be in for a boring time, but it suddenly turns out to be more interesting than you expected. You can't wait for that to be a reality, and you need to start immediately.
If you have about half an hour to speak, you should finish short, such as 25 minutes. Keep your focus, and you will have the perfect presentation. Once you prepare your message, you should be direct with it. Cut it down to what you need to get across, don't get too verbose and long-winded. Respect people's time as you expect them to respect yours.
Get Straight to the Point
Many professionals get on stage and try to present their ideas in a manner that leaves the most important things for last as the punchline of a good joke. That may work for comedy but doesn't cut professional presentations, for the most part. The audience won't care about long stories about your achievements or something that is so completely off-target that you would be wasting their time.
The importance of your presentation is to make it relevant, short, compelling and memorable. Keep it focused, keep it tight and get to the point. Use your visuals smartly and ensure you don't go overboard with them. They are meant to be visual aids, not crutches to your presentation that become far too much to bear for your audience.
Presentation training is about more than sharing knowledge and insight, and it’s about helping you connect to your audience in ways you can use to your advantage to get your message across. Your audience wants to find a way to communicate with you, but they also need to communicate with each other. Before you speak to them, you need to answer the following questions:
Who Are You?
Your audience doesn’t want you to remind them who you are, your name, and your title. This is likely already a part of your presentation, next to your logo or on the agenda right before the presentation. They also don’t need to know other inconsequential details; you need to remember that the first words you utter on stage are the most important in your presentation. They make or break your whole stay in front of your audience. This will give your audience the comfort that you are not only there for them, but they will need to make them feel good about showing up. They need to know whether you are someone they can empathise with, someone who understands them, whether you really care about them and if they can trust you.
You need to put their minds at ease and have them understand that you are just like them. You can start by telling them a personal anecdote relevant to your presentation, but it allows you to be more open on stage. Give them insight into the things you like, who you are and what makes you similar to your audience. It would be best to remember that your audience wants to connect with you as much as you want to connect with them; you have to avoid coming across as stiff in the process.
Why Are You Here?
This is the next question; the answer is likely a part of your initial words and personal story. You will find your message easy to convey if the story is relevant. Think about what you learned and the moral of the story you’re out there to tell. Some of the presenters out there take pride in their achievements and love sharing them, but that’s not the important part here. The audience wants to know why you called them together to hear you speak and what is important enough to share in person and not in a document online or an e-mail.
Why Are We Here?
Most people aren’t exactly excited when it comes to attending business presentations. Many people have already experienced business presentations that are simply too long, boring or have little value or relevance that they’d care about. It would be best to let your audience know why they’re there. Whatever you do, you need to ensure they know they are in the right place at the right time. Help them relax and look forward to your presentation, keeping their attention focused on the process.
Do you believe what you are telling us?
You may have the most creative slides this side of the world or the most impressive and informative pie charts, but in the end, your audience is looking at you, not the raw data. They will judge your presentation based on whether they like you or not, as well as what you tell them. There is no point in claiming you are passionate about your message if you can’t convey that with your voice, body language and facial expressions. Remember before and during your presentation to connect with your audience.
If you are an introvert with issues making a public speech, you are one of many. There are many resources online to give you a hand in becoming more natural and confident speaking in public. Working on those skills makes it much easier to meet new people and enjoy a larger social circle. There are significant benefits to being able to use those skills, both in a professional setting and outside the office environment, so let’s cover how you can get better:
Consider What You Can Improve
Think about the public settings you feel most comfortable in, and compare those with situations where you feel detached from a conversation or like an outsider. There is often a shared theme between those that make you feel like you don’t belong. The common situation leading to shying away from public speaking include:
Attending an event alone
Communicating at work, specifically people in power
When friends bring strangers into a conversation
Small get-togethers or dates
Crowded groups and settings
Give Yourself a Speaking Target
Now that you are aware of your challenges regarding public speaking,l you should set a target you can achieve to get yourself moving toward it. That may mean something as simple as introducing yourself to a stranger at the next party or speaking up a bit in public when you attend a gathering. You will often need to force yourself just a bit outside your comfort zone so that you can expand it, bit by bit. You may volunteer to give presentations at the office or have a friend introduce you to a social circle, or even join an acting class or book club, where you can practice speaking in public in a more tightly knit group.
Never Compare Yourself to Others
If you love to look up and research public speakers and speeches for reference and inspiration, you may set yourself up for failure if you try to compare yourself to those. You can observe famous public figures, but you don’t need to set that high a bar for yourself if you want to be successful. You need to aim at a level of competence that will satisfy your needs and impress your audience, but nothing too far removed from that if you want to retain your sanity and avoid stress. Connect, interact and learn from your audience’s reactions.
Preparation and Practice
Since introverts enjoy more time alone, it is perfect for preparing and researching your chosen subject. You can put in the time to master the material and work on the delivery and timing. You would do well to rehearse at least an hour per minute of your presentation. Shorter talks may require more practice to get the timing and rhythm right to get the best results possible. Create a mental picture of what you intend to talk about and stick to it as you go forward. You don’t need to memorise the points and quote them word-for-word, as that will only make your speech sound mechanical and unnatural.
Mastering the Content
You need to focus on being the author of your speeches and presentations. That will give you a better understanding of the subject matter and how you present it. Your content will feel more natural, authentic and convincing than simply parroting something someone else wrote. If you are an expert in your chosen field, you will find it much easier to convey that knowledge to any group out there. Approach the subject openly as a conversation and less as a formal presentation. Remember that you want to educate your audience and leave them happy with the time they spent listening to you.
If you want to be someone people will talk about after a public speech, you need to go beyond what most people do in their preparations. You need to look at people who already know how to keep their audience's attention and borrow elements, keeping what's successful in mind as you go forward. The following four points are here to help you out:
You Need Catchphrases
The importance of catchphrases is something we have experienced since childhood, all through adolescence and into adulthood. Marketing jingles, the memorable one-liners of our favourite action heroes, and things successful businessmen and media personalities or authors said that stuck with us. These are all extremely quotable things, the kind of things people share by word of mouth and social media.
These are memorable phrases and concepts you can communicate in short sentences. You need to build these into your presentation; think of something people can meme, quote, tweet, or name. Make this a priority, so your audience won't have to work for it, digging for easily special meaning. Hopefully, your presentation has plenty of material to work with, something both compelling and new.
Share Concrete, Not Subjective Advice
You can split the public speaking people into groups - those who rely on catchphrases above all else and those who tend to focus on the technical side of things and plenty of data. Both of those get a lot of attention from audiences worldwide, so there is no wrong path regarding being inspirational or memorable in this case. The most important thing is to remember to give concrete advice and be on point, not generalising and giving advice anyone can come up with. Depending on the nature of your presentation and public speech, this may or may not apply, but in all cases, the message your speech must present should be well-honed and valuable to your audience. You also need to give concrete examples of why your advice works and how that applies to the audience's needs. Provide information and data to back up your claims, as that is part of what will convince your audience of the truth of your statements.
Make People Want to Write Something Down
You may have had an experience where you saw someone speaking, but you didn't feel like writing anything down. You may have even experienced the opposite with watching someone who wasn't the best speaker, but you wrote a lot of exciting data down for later use. Writing down or recording means that people find the information relevant and interesting. Inspiration is essential, but it must be paired with helpful information to make it matter. You can't simply tell people what they already know, such as "You need to make your brand more popular" or something similar; people need to be given concrete and useful information, something worth writing down and memorising, then utilising in their daily lives.
Include at Least One high-impact Chart or List
Images with rich and interesting data do very well in presentations and social media. Though images do much better than text, unsurprisingly, colourful images also do a great job. In industries like marketing, for example, sharing images with meaningful information is a great way to get your point across. The same goes for many other subjects, especially when combined with text and data. The best part about these images is that people can learn a lot from the slide or image itself; they won't have to look deeper into the subject on the spot to discover your meaning.
Some people tend to have a knack for public speaking when they are in front of a crowd or a microphone, giving a toast or a speech. Others tend to feel this existential dread whenever they’re in the same position, wanting nothing less than to run away screaming. Luckily, you don’t have to be the latter, but you can be the former with some help and experience. Let’s cover what you can do to make yourself a better public speaker:
Be OK With Feeling Nervous
Even the most socially savvy people out there tend to get the jitters from time to time. Feeling shy and nervous are completely normal feelings, not a personality trait hardwired into your psyche. We eventually face such feelings when we’re in situations that make us feel uncomfortable.
Put the Audience First.
Remember, the point of giving a speech, toast or presentation is to communicate a message to your audience. A good speaker cares about their audience and wants to feel what they need and how they can help them with what they’re saying. This isn’t about you, but about them. You need to give yourself to your audience, meaning you can’t spend time being too self-conscious.
It would be best if you took the time to figure out the ideal way to tailor your message to your audience. What optimal approach will keep their attention and resonate with their minds? It would help if you thought of a strong opener immediately catching their attention. Crafting a thoughtful conclusion will also help listeners remember the key points you talked about throughout your speech.
Preparing for less formal conversations, such as dinner parties with neighbours or a networking event at work, is different from preparing for a formal speech. Planning is still the way to go, however. Think about possible points you may want to make about a project at work before you meet with the audience; it should give you the confidence boost you need to stay calm and collected. Knowing a bit more about your party guests before you speak will make it much easier to land any conversations you’re engaged in.
Outline But Don’t Script
You’re speaking to your audience in the most direct way possible. If you can, you should outline what you plan on saying rather than writing out your speech word-for-word. This will allow you to feel more natural when you speak, letting your voice be your own and allowing for easier eye contact. Not reading your speech from a script will make you look and feel more authentic and natural, confident in your abilities. It shows that you know what you’re talking about by heart.
Practice. Practice. Practice.
Nobody enjoys repetition ad nauseam, but it is necessary if you want to become an excellent public speaker. This is most often the solution to solving the issue of nerves acting up. Practising your speech out loud will allow you to feel and hear how it comes out of your mouth. With the feedback of a friend, coworker or family member, you can get some much-needed perspective. It will take some patience, but in the end, you will be better off for it.
Learn to Listen.
Whether or not you’re talking one on one or in front of thousands of people, communication is a two-way activity. Both parties have to be engaged for things to be truly memorable. When you’re trying to engage your listeners in less formal settings, good communicators listen to what others say before answering questions and then add their spin on things.
If you want to gain greater confidence and enjoyment of public speaking, then you need to find a way forward that reinforces your natural strengths and eliminates your weaknesses. The following tips will give you a hand in that:
Being Self-Conscious in Front of an Audience
This is one of the major reasons for performance anxiety. Speech coaches will constantly hear the phrase “I’m fine talking to smaller audiences, but when a large audience is facing me, I feel extreme anxiety.” There are ways to get around that - remember that people in the audience are the same ones you can talk to on an individual basis. You should also remember that you’re simply talking to them, not presenting and you’ll do just fine.
Fear of Appearing Nervous
If you think that you look afraid when you’re up there on the podium, then you should know a lot of speakers tend to feel that way. It’s something people believe, that when the audience sees you are feeling nervous, they will think you know nothing about the topic you’re presenting. The two are not linked at all, however. When you see a nervous speaker, people don’t necessarily judge their professionalism, but they tend to sympathise.
Concerned about Being Judged
The reality of the situation is that most people don’t care about you, they care about the subject you’re talking about during your speech. They are there to take something out of your presentation or lecture, so they want their time to be well-spent. The audience is hoping you will do a great job, so think of that as a way to motivate yourself.
If you have done a poor job at preparing for your speech, then there is no way you will succeed. You can blame nobody but yourself in that case since nothing undermines an audience’s confidence in you than coming on stage unprepared. Being ready will give you the confidence boost you need. The choice is yours to make.
This is one of the toughest things you’ll need to hear when it comes to staging anxiety. Indulging the extreme self-consciousness of some public speakers can be a bit of a narcissistic element. If you are completely focused on yourself, then you will have a hard time influencing others to hear you out. You will have to get in the mindset that your audience matters, not your ambitions.
Lack of Faith in Your Abilities
This is something most people worry about. It is also one of the easiest things to solve. If you feel dissatisfaction with your speaking skills, then that is an excellent motivator for you to change and improve. Get the speech training you need to get things going. Just knowing you have undergone training and improving your skills can give you the faith you need to succeed.
Discomfort in Your Own Body
It is possible you may feel at ease with your friends, but completely self-conscious and awkward when you face a large audience. If that is the case, you should consider approaching things like you’re having a conversation with them, to relax and ignore the perception of your body’s looks, gestures and so forth. Think about the way you act with confidence in a comfortable environment, remember that you have it in you to act the same way, no matter the environment.
Poor Breathing Habits
Unless you were trained as a singer or actor, you are probably blissfully unaware of your breathing patterns. Public speaking requires a lot more air than your regular breathing, and you also need to control your exhalation and pauses to sustain sound until the end of your speech. Diaphragmatic breathing is the way to make that happen, also great for calming your nerves.
Public speaking anxiety, also known as glossophobia, is one of the most widespread social fears out there. Although some people may feel nervous about giving speeches and presentations, if you are experiencing a social anxiety disorder, public speaking may be an absolute nightmare.
Public speaking anxiety may also be called performance anxiety, a type of social anxiety disorder (SAD). Social phobias are the most common type of mental health condition. Symptoms of public speaking anxiety are the very same that happens with social anxiety disorder, but they only happen when speaking in public. If you are suffering from public speaking anxiety, you will likely be worried about an upcoming speech or presentation for months before it happens. You will experience physical symptoms of anxiety during the speech, such as a pounding heart, quivering voice, dizziness, upset stomach, shortness of breath, blushing, shaking and more.
Preparing for a Public Speech
There are several ways you can use to cope with speech anxiety, as well as become better at public speaking in general. Public speaking is similar to any other activity. Training and preparation mean better performance when your experience grows. You will be better prepared, with boosted confidence and you’ll find it easier to concentrate on getting your message across to your audience. Even if you suffer from social anxiety, you can deliver a great speech with proper treatment and enough time devoted to preparing ahead of time.
Taking serious steps to plan before the speech will give you better control over your anxiety. Before you give a speech, consider the following:
Choosing a topic that is close to your heart. If you can, you should choose something you’re excited about. If you can’t choose the topic yourself, you should use an approach to the topic you find interesting. As an example, you can give a personal story that relates to the topic as a way of introducing it to your speech. You can ensure you are engaged in the topic and you will stay motivated in your preparation and research. That way, when you are presenting, your enthusiasm and interest in the topic will be inspiring to your audience.
Be familiar with the venue you’ll be visiting. You should visit the conference room, auditorium, classroom, banquet hall, whatever it is. Familiarising yourself with its look, practising in there just for the environment, all of those things will help ease you into the speech when the time comes. Being familiar with the venue is one of the best ways to relax.
Ask for accommodations. This means changes to the work environment that would help you deal with anxiety. A podium, a pitcher of water, audiovisual equipment and even choosing to stay seated if you can, all of those can make a difference. If you have been diagnosed with social anxiety disorder, then you may need to let the organisers know ahead of time, so they can give you a hand. There’s no shame in having someone watching your back.
Avoid scripting your speeches. If you have ever sat through a speech where someone reads it prepared ahead of time, word-by-word, then you know you will probably fail to recall much of what was said. Prepare a list of key points on paper and note cards you can use later on.
Develop your routine. Putting one together to manage your anxiety can be of great help before a presentation or speech. It should help put you in the proper state of mind, allowing you to maintain a relaxed state before, during and after the event. It may be something as simple as practising before a mirror or meditation, whatever works for you.
Public speaking and presentation are often shown as a skill for the outgoing extrovert. Mindfulness is often shown as something practised by the reserved, meek and contemplative. Both are excellent skills for anyone though, with valuable aspects of both being used in most daily situations. They can help you become a better public speaker, using the best of both worlds.
If public speaking and presentations are part of your work, then you have already noticed how often disruptive thoughts are getting in the way. They are inconveniences that must be done away with to allow you a calm and collected speech. Resigning yourself to the reality of always facing these thoughts is a way to take on the fear of public speaking.
People are often busy with life and don’t take the time to consider their feelings. Your public speech or presentation would be far more powerful if you are attuned with your emotions and self. Persuading others works better when you’re genuine, and there is nothing more genuine than knowing yourself. You need to consider a few things before you begin, such as your natural gifts as a speaker. There may be thoughts that get in the way during a public speech, which is completely normal.
When we want to become more aware of ourselves, but less critical, we have a great chance to connect to our audience on an emotional level. Connecting to ourselves helps us connect to others. The process of introspection should be the priority. You don’t need to attack your every weakness, but it means being aware of your shortcomings in the name of personal growth. Once you are attuned with yourself, you can understand your audience. Ask yourself what they want, who they are, how you can help them. These are more than just professionals, they are mothers, fathers, sons and daughters.
When we make the same old tired choices, wearing the same clothes, taking the same route to work, doing the same things over and over, expecting a different outcome, we are truly lying to ourselves in the worst way possible. Repetitive behaviour won’t help you connect to your audience. You should practice mindfulness to become aware of these limitations, so you can overcome them and break through the roof stifling your potential.
We are imperfect creatures by design. Everyone feels a level of anxiety when you’re out there in the limelight and speaking in public. Some may be extremely nervous, close to a panic attack, while others may feel more at peace. The truth is, mindfulness of this simple fact is the first step on the road to overcoming your fear.
People tend to wander in their thoughts most of the time, but most of those thoughts are repetitive patterns that bog us down with unnecessary obsessions. When you need to present something, public speaking often leads to anxiety, precisely because of these obsessive thoughts and their destructive element. Remember these steps to disarm them:
Sit with your spine straight or stand up straight when you’re on your feet.
Close your eyes and focus on your breathing. Take mindful breaths during your speech and focus on timing and pauses.
When your mind inevitably wanders, you will need to bring it back into focus by breathing and sensing how that feels. Don’t challenge or judge yourself, just feel every breath. Do that every time your mind wanders and you’ll be able to refocus yourself.
Thanks to the global Covid pandemic, more and more people have found the need to adapt to virtual meetings, instead of attending in-person. Lockdowns have created an environment for working from home and people need to adapt to it. Business communications now resort to video conferencing and online presentations.
If you find yourself in a struggle with this, you are not alone. Many people find it more difficult to present online and communicate via virtual means. Virtual communication may be convenient, but it is also lacking in relaying human emotion. There is not always a way to tell if you are on the right track with your audience, because you may not even see them. So how do you gain some confidence in online meetings? Here are a few proven tips:
Always look the part
When you look confident, you also feel confident. When you have to do an important virtual meeting, you should always dress in clothes that make you feel good. You should not go casual and you should stick with neutral colours because bright prints are a bit distracting. And while the idea of not wearing pants has been floating around, since others don’t see you from the waist down, you best not consider it at all. Sometimes you will need to stand up and grab some documents, so avoid wearing your pyjamas.
If you wish to feel more executive with your presence, you need to take up more space, figuratively and literally. If you sit far too away from your camera, you will look small, which is an immediate telltale sign that you are feeling nervous. It is best to set up your camera in such a way that makes the entire area from your upper chest visible.
Connecting with people
Just because you are communicating via a digital medium with your audience doesn’t mean you cannot connect with them. Keep the camera at eye level so that you connect with the others. It would be a mistake to place the camera too low, as it would seem you are talking down on people, or too high because then you diminish your presence. Strong eye contact with the audience is the best form of connection you should achieve, and you don’t want to waste it.
Be mindful of your background
A large part of the software used in digital conferences, like Zoom, has interesting background features. You have to be mindful of going too wild with the backgrounds because it can be a distraction to your viewers. If the meeting is an important one, you should locate yourself in a neutral room, with a neutral background. You don’t need to display an empty wall, but certainly, avoid a panorama of your messy kitchen or dining area.
Use your strong voice
Using a strong voice and being more mindful of inflexion is all it takes to make you feel more relaxed. These are both tips that you need to be mindful of when you are talking in person as well. People are more focused when someone is talking to them in a stronger voice. And because people’s attention wavers during a conversation online, you should make sure you have good audio.
Be more aware of your body
If you allow the lack of confidence to leak through your posture, you will lose your audience. Hunching over or slouching during your video calls can make everyone feel less secure. You can use some mindfulness techniques to become more comfortable with yourself and sit with ease in front of the camera. One good exercise is trying to imagine a piece of string attached to the ceiling and pulling your head up.
All of these tips work well to make you more prepared to do a virtual presentation or a video conference with confidence.
If you need to give a speech soon, you will face many symptoms of anxiety and stress. This is, even more, the case, if you need to present in front of your boss for example, or it is some other major event going on. This is normal and even the most expert public speakers admit that there is some level of nervousness before a speech.
And the goal should always be not to fight the adrenaline surge, but to instead leverage it. So the next time you step out to speak in front of others, you will do well to utilise some strategies to prepare just before the speech. Here are a few working tips in that regard:
Remember to utilise these simple but effective strategies the next time you approach public speaking. You will be surprised by how powerful they are.
Everyone wants to be able to communicate better. Whether it is presenting at work, or just talking with others, we all have the goal of delivering our message well. There are ways you can get better at this, even when it comes to the much-dreaded forms of public speaking, which involve speaking to many people to deliver a message.
The things you can do to get better at public speaking right now are somewhat simple, yet necessary to get you on the right track:
Criticising other people is within the nature of humans. But that is not necessarily a bad thing, especially if you use this to help yourself become a better public speaker. How? First, you need to find a few presentations and talks to watch and listen to. Then, you will start taking critical notes of the delivery of the presenter/public speaker. It doesn’t matter what source of video or talk you resort to. What matters is the way you perceive their delivery. Think about what you liked about it and what you found to be lacking. Maybe it is something about their body language, the way they wave their hands or stutter with their words. The point of all this is to develop a critical eye, which you can then turn towards yourself. The better you are at figuring out what you like and what can be done better, the more in tune you will be with the way your delivery should take place.
Seek feedback from a friend
When it comes to finding out the mistakes you make in public speaking, it is not always easy to rely on yourself alone. There are things you are most likely doing wrong, but you may not be able to see them. That is why it is important to get some feedback from friends and family members. You can go even further, and tell your friends to be mindful of the way you use non-verbal communication or filler words. Asking for specific feedback will yield much better results overall.
Try to get over the stress
If you want to get better, you need to learn to view yourself presenting more critically. People are usually extra-conscious when they are watching or listening to themselves. But to become a better public speaker, you need to get over this. When watching yourself, it is important not just to check out the negatives, but also the things you did well. This way you are building up some confidence overtime to foster forward momentum. Watch a video of yourself presenting and focus on one thing you did wrong at a time.
Make it more personal
Public speaking is much more than just talking to others in public. The reasons you communicate are often deeper and reflect how you feel about yourself. Answer a few questions about yourself can give you a better understanding of where you sit with public speaking. For example, when was the last time you think you did a presentation well, and how did it feel? When are you most passionate about public speaking?
Allow yourself to be brave
It takes practice to get better. Try to look for opportunities to practice your skills, whether it be at work or perhaps in a less formal environment. The more you practice your public speaking skills, the better you will become.
Always remember that public speaking is a skill that you can acquire and hone to perfection. It takes a special outlook on things, to make it all work in your favour.
Do you flinch every time someone mentions the words ‘public speaking? Even if you are otherwise confident in your life, the prospect of speaking to a big audience of people is not easy to go through. But that is common for many individuals – the fear and anxiety of public speaking.
It is among the most common fears in the world. Unfortunately, it is one thing many have to overcome, because of career prospects and other opportunities. There is a lot you can do to minimise this issue, and the following tips can greatly help in that regard:
Following these simple strategies is a good way to reduce the fear of public speaking. Remember, it takes a lot of preparation, but overcoming those negative feelings is never an impossible task.
Nowadays, more people than ever are doing online presentations and online talks with an audience. Whether it is webinars or business calls on some of the online conferencing software options, you are probably experiencing the same shift.
There is little doubt that online conferencing comes with a set of challenges, which are different from when you are doing in-person public speaking. And while you may be well-experienced to handle the in-person task just fine, the online part is a bit different. There are various things you may forget to address, which will negatively impact your performance. Do consider them all:
These are all important aspects of online presentations that you should not forget about. They can secure the success or lead to a failure of your presentation.