The very first question that I’m usually asked by my new clients during our first meeting is how they can get over their public speaking fear.
They are all looking for that one secret to solve what they perceive as their ‘problem’ of public speaking fear when delivering presentations in public.
They too are seeking a ‘magic pill’ that will instantly take away all of their nerves and fears. This is the very same ‘magic pill’ that I spent so much of my time trying to find.
Explaining how there isn’t just one simple, easy ‘thing’ they can do to feel confident when delivering their presentations always results in such a look of disappointment.
It’s a bit like telling a child Father Christmas doesn’t exist.
Not that I’ve ever done that to a child.
I can just imagine how they’d look and feel on hearing the news.
The journey of growing the confidence to speak and present in public starts with our mindset.
It is how we think about all that is currently going on around us and what will happen in the days and weeks before our presentation.
It also includes what we perceive might occur in the hours before, during and even after we have finished speaking.
Let's now take a look at some of the concrete steps we can take to feel more confident.
Instantly Remove Public Speaking Fear?
The first step to building your presentation confidence is accepting that there is no one single strategy to remove instantly your public speaking fear.
I've mentioned this above, but this is so important that it's worth reiterating.
It is a combination of altering your mindset and adopting the tips, tools and techniques you will discover on this site that will help you along your journey to becoming a confident public speaker and presenter.
It will be putting into practice all that we cover, along with taking every opportunity available to put it into action that will help you to become a confident speaker.
Putting it into action is an important part of the process. Resist the temptation to wait for everything to be 'perfect' and you have all the information and skills to start speaking.
There will always be something extra or new to learn.
Dating Excitement Verses Public Speaking Fear
Do you remember the excitement of going on a date?
The build-up in the days before as we planned where we would go, what we would wear, and maybe even say. You may have mentally planned how your time together would go.
Then there were the nerves and butterflies before the big moment of the first date.
Unless you are very lucky, it’s something we go through many times searching for that one special person.
It’s only natural to be nervous before a date as you’re eager and excited to see them.
Have you ever noticed how we experience some of the same symptoms as when speaking in public?
Symptoms of nerves, apprehension, butterflies, etc. These are now, however, viewed differently. This time we call it public speaking fear or maybe a ‘phobia of public speaking’.
It is perfectly normal to have some feelings of nervousness in the lead up to any occasion that’s important to you such as a date or delivering a presentation.
It will help if you therefore acknowledge to yourself that these feelings are all perfectly normal.
Everyone has these feelings of nervousness at some time.
Over the years, while running my many courses on public speaking, I’ve asked those attending to share some of the symptoms they feel in the day or hours before a meeting when their public speaking fear is at it's peak.
The most frequent ones are:
Butterflies in stomach
Do any of this sound familiar to you?
What physical symptoms do you feel leading up to your presentations?
One fascinating revelation always comes out of this sharing. Those attending my courses start to realise how they're not the only ones to feel nervous or experience these symptoms.
We all do.
It’s Only Me?
Long before I became a multi-award winning speaker, whenever I used to attend meetings, I’d always sit there wondering why all the other speakers were so confident and relaxed, whereas I was feeling so nervous.
What was it they knew or were doing differently to me?
In truth, all the other speakers will also have been feeling some public speaking anxiety, even if they won’t admit to it.
It's not just speakers who experience nervousness and anxiety before delivering a presentation.
Many professional musicians and actors have admitted to experiencing stage fright.
Sometimes it’s so severe it gets to the point that they are physically ill and throw up before their performance.
A few well-known artists who experience this level of stage fright are Adele, Rhianna and Katy Perry.
In a way, we should take some comfort from the thought that if these highly talented and accomplished artists experience anxiety before their performances, we, as the occasional presenter, are no different.