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Fear of public speaking is so common that they even have a fancy name for it – Glossophobia. The question is – How manageable is the fear?
Your fear on stage has nothing to do with your level of courage
Your public speaking fear has nothing to do with how courageous you are.
Many courageous business leaders go blank and fumble as soon as they step on stage. Many legendary sportsmen known for their aggression – visibly shiver when asked to say a few words to the media.
What causes the fear of public speaking?
Is your fear just imaginary? No. When your mouth goes dry, knees turn into a jelly and voice squeaks – the fear is very much real.
To use a pep talk or a motivational tape to calm your fear is like using a garden hose to put down an inferno. It just won’t work. Let us start with understanding this fear better…
The science behind your public speaking fear
There is a clear difference between the way an accomplished speaker views an audience and the way an anxious speaker views the audience.
A professional speaker views the audience as individuals sitting together. An anxious speaker views them as a large intimidating mass of people who are waiting to judge and criticize.
So, when you approach the stage with fear, your body naturally triggers the fight or flight response– that prepares you to fight or escape a dangerous situation. Your blood pressure increases, heart beats faster, palms begin to sweat and your tense voice begins to quiver.
You start using fillers like Umm…. Aahh… to feel reassured.
So, what is the way out?
- Should you consult a doctor to cure your anxiety?
- Should you read from your notes and avoid looking at your audience?
- Should you memorize every word of your speech and just recite it to your audience?
No. The best way is to take an objective look at the way you approach public speaking. When you start analyzing your beliefs about public speaking, you will learn how to manage your fear.
Let’s take a practical look at the three limiting beliefs you hold and the actual reality.
Heather Stubbs, has an insightful blog called Tips on Talking that covers public speaking. You may like to add her blog to your reading list.
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