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One of the most daunting feelings is getting called up on stage when you have a fear of public speaking.
Deep inside, you know that speaking isn't a big deal. You speak in conversations all the time!
But something seems wrong.
You are about to get called on stage to speak in front of an audience.
The mere of thought of public speaking has your:
Body shriveling up.
Heartbeat flying through the roof.
You seem like your world is about to come crashing down before your eyes.
But just as you don't think it can get any worse, you now hear the host calling you to get on stage.
Flustered, you know that you have no other option at this point.
So you slowly walk on stage, stand under the bright lights, avoid eye contact with everyone in sight and begin to speak.
But what comes out is a meek, quivering voice filled with stutters & a lack of confidence.
You can tell the audience is trying to make out what you are saying, but are having a tough time.
You feel like you are being judged & that time is slowing down.
The eyeballs pierce thru you & you feel nothing but self doubt.
Does this scenario sound a little too familiar?
If so, then chances are that you have public speaking anxiety.
A few years ago, I had fell into this exact same boat.
I got called on stage for my first Toastmasters meeting in my college campus.
At that time, I was already unconfident as it was. Now I had to speak?
Well, I got on stage, saw a lot of kids from my class that I recognize in the audience & froze like a deer in the headlights.
Still remember that day like it was yesterday.
Public speaking anxiety also known as 'speech anxiety' is when your feel a massive amount of nerves leading up to a speech.
These nerves result in a strong level of physical sensations that cause your mind to start running.
Once your mind starts running, you begin to get overwhelmed with thoughts of failing, being judged & thinking that you're in danger.
I can empathize with you.
And that is why you should read this blog post all the way through.
Don't you hate it when people give you on advice on something that they have always been good at?
I know I sure do!
I want advice from someone who has been through the trenches & knows the good AND the bad of what they are talking about.
Someone who had to work their way up.
Which is why we are going to go into the world of public speaking today.
Without further ado, let us begin.
To be honest, most of your anxiety is an illusion.
Your mind starts using your imagination to make up scenarios in a negative light.
For speech anxiety, your imagination just happens to make up scenarios in the public speaking light.
It is an illusion because the whole thing is is fake.
You aren't in danger, but your body THINKS it is.
Your body thinks it is in danger because it is being exposed to a very new or important act.
Back in our primal days, the body served as a compass.
Heck, it had to when our ancestors were capable of being eaten by a saber tooth tiger!
You didn't want to think too much, you wanted a body that was going to react & send out strong signals.
But in today's world, that body sends out signals of illusion at times.
Public speaking is viewed as a danger because it is:
New act- You don't speak in front of a crowd too often. And since you are engaging in a novel act, your body is momentarily viewing it as a modern day saber tooth tiger.
Important act- You really want to do well & this is an important act to you.
In order to overcome public speaking anxiety, you have to first accept that it is an illusion.
And by illusion, I mean making yourself aware that you are not in danger.
Now that you have understood that public speaking anxiety is an illusion of a danger, you can get ready for a Toastmasters secret.
Speech anxiety is good!
'Wait what?? What are you smoking bro!'
Nothing. Believe it or not, it is a really good thing.
A few years back when I asked my Toastmasters mentor when the rapid heartbeat goes away, he just laughed.
I looked back at him confused.
Then he responded with, 'never.'
He said the rapid heartbeat never goes away, your mind just learns to deal with it.
That response alone changed my paradigm regarding public speaking forever.
But it didn't stop there.
He also mentioned when you begin embracing the rapid heartbeat, you end up getting a level of energy that will actually FUEL your speech.
Isn't that amazing?
This whole time I was trying to see how I can mask the anxiety, where in reality, I was supposed to be embracing it!
Speech anxiety is good because it give your speech an extra level of animation.
If you approached public speaking the same way you approach a non important event, then there is a risk that come you off as boring.
But your speech anxiety gives you an extra level of pop.
Think about 1 speaker that you admire & think of his stage presence.
He/she has speech anxiety too!
They just know how to regulate it into energy.
Which brings me to the next point...
So you may think this sounds all good in theory, but how do you exactly leverage speech anxiety?
By doing 2 important things:
For this step, you will be referring to 'speech anxiety' as 'speech excitement.' This mental re-frame is huge because it allows you to view the sensations in a completely different light.
You are no longer whimpering like a little bitch at the sight of the emotions.
But rather, you are now embracing it.
Public speaking is predominantly a mental game.
Your words control your thoughts.
Your thoughts control your actions.
So use make sure you are leveraging powerful words to help you out! Not destruct you.
Bonus Tip: Rather than saying 'I have to give a speech' say 'I get to give a speech.' This helps you associate a positive emotions with the act.
Public speaking is a rite of passage towards confidence.
You aren't going to be someone who just becomes confidence overnight, right?
Same with reconditioning your mindset of speech anxiety.
You need to put in the work.
Sign up for a Toastmasters or speech in any event that you can get your hands on.
The more you speak, the more you get an opportunity for your mind to overpower the emotions to TAKE ACTION.
Public speaking is a field where you get to separate the doers from the talkers.
If you are a doer than this stage will be no problem.
Embrace for bumps along the way, but rise anyways.
You got this.
When your thoughts & actions come together in harmony, you unleash your inner beast.
You give yourself less credit than you should grasshopper.
Public speaking is an act that will bring you glory.
The fact that you made it to the bottom of the post shows that you are serious about this craft.
And want to know something?
Most will quit.
Which is why it becomes so much more glorious when you figure the whole public speaking thing out!
You know you are strong minded & persistent.
And those 2 elements are what exercises your confidence.
An enhanced speech is just one of the many side effects of becoming a great public speaker.
A few other traits include:
These 3 traits will have you enjoying life & dealing with your problems like a boss.
Now conquer your speech anxiety!
For more practical tips to deal with public speaking, sight up from my free daily newsletter.