In survey after survey, when people are asked about their greatest fears, speaking in front of an audience usually tops the list. So, if you’re anxious about the prospect of speaking in public, you’re not alone. There’s even an acronym for it: F.E.A.R., for “forget everything and run.” At the same, you have to accept that, in order to be most effective at work, you have to conquer that anxiety.
There are a number of ways you can begin to do that:
Practice, practice, practice. Just about every work role – not just a leadership role – offers opportunities to practice your speaking through interactions with customers, teammates, vendors, and others.
Do deep breathing. You can lower anxiety by breathing and trying to relax your body before you engage an audience, whether a group or an individual.
Mentally prepare. Try this: Make two lists. On one list, write down the worst possible things that can happen if you engage this audience. And then, on the other list, write down the good things that can happen. The list of what can possibly go wrong is rather far-fetched. And the list of what can possibly go well can be very exciting for the person as the possibilities for good outcomes become apparent.
Use visualization strategies. For example, concentrate on how good you are; what I’ve realized over time, as I’ve coached clients on public speaking, is that they tend to underestimate that they’re really good in their field.
These are some basic ways to free you from anxiety about public speaking that are well worth trying. After all, these speaking occasions are meant to move your business forward, move your team forward and move your career forward.