I’m sure you must have heard this statistic before, according to an oft mentioned survey, people’s Number One Fear is public speaking! This fear came ahead of death and various other nasties.
Personally, I think this factoid is true. For some reason, the thought of public speaking seems to really make people worry, and often times brings them to a virtual nervous breakdown. And though I don’t have this fear anymore, I used to have it in my university days.
I remember when I had my first presentation during my undergraduate years, I was so nervous. I felt like vomiting. If memory serves me correctly, it was a Quality Management class. You could probably hear the nervousness in my voice.
By the time I graduated I did so many presentations that I was actually looking forward to them. My fear was essentially gone. Today of course the story is completely different, not only do I enjoy speaking in front of a group, I get a high out of it! It’s second nature to me now.
Here are 5 tips to overcome this dreaded fear:
A little obvious I suppose but actually missed by many. I think one of the things that has made me a good public speaker is the simple act of practicing. Practice the actual presentation or speech you have to give on your own, and in front of friends and family. And here’s an important point, when you make a mistake in your practice session, pretend you did this mistake for real in front of the group. That way you’ll have gotten used to reacting to mistakes if you do make one when you give the real presentation.
Sit down on your own. Imagine you have a huge cinema screen in front of you, and see yourself giving your speech perfectly. Imagine as much detail as possible, and make the picture as vivid as possible. Imagine the audience’s reaction, and imagine everything going perfectly. Do this daily for 10 to 20 minutes leading up to the speech. This is basically exactly as the first point, except that you are practicing in your mind.
3) Use EFT:
EFT stands for Emotional Freedom Technique, developed by a guy called Gary Graig. Basically, it’s a process of tapping on certain pressure points on your body. EFT is EXTREMELY powerful – and not just in helping you overcome public speaking, but with many other areas of your life. Visit the EFT website for more info. You might also consider watching the DVD Try it on Everything.
A hypnotherapy session or two could do wonders for you (provided you do it with a good hypnotherapist). If you don’t know much about hypnosis, see the blog post I wrote about it here , and listen to the Krazy Kevin interview I did here. The most well-known and reputed hypnotherapist in Bahrain is Dr. Leila Edwards, you can see her website here.
NLP stands for Neuro Linguistic Programming. I think NLP is overrated to some degree, but is still powerful in helping overcome certain problems, especially in overcoming fears or phobias. Read my NLP blog post I wrote a couple of years ago for more about the subject. Here’s the Wikipedia explanation. There are quite a few NLP practitioners in Bahrain, but again the best is probably Dr. Leila mentioned above.
Look, public speaking does not need to be this fearsome monster, don’t make a bigger deal out of it than it really is. Also, once you get good at it it’s quite enjoyable actually.
Good luck and let me know how you get along.