Breaking The Cycle of Public Speaking Fear
Imagine this situation.
You are to deliver a presentation to the senior management team at a company.
How would you feel?
Consider this scene for a minute before you read on.
What thoughts go through your mind?
Years ago, as soon as I had agreed (or been forced) to deliver any presentation in public, there was a process that would invariably run threw my mind.
This process was driven by my public speaking fear
If you are like me, in the run-up to making the presentation, you will be asking yourself a series of ‘what if’ questions.
Questions like these: -
- What if they don’t like me?
- What if they know more than me?
- What if they ask awkward questions?
- What if I forget my words?
- What if I trip up my words?
- What if I don’t know the answer to a question?
- What if I look silly?
Maybe you ask yourself questions like these?
Driven by your public speaking fear?
These questions would continuously be spinning round and round in my head, even in my dreams.
All this did was add to the stress and tension that I already felt. It did not serve or help me in any way.
As you now read through the list of questions that I used to be continuously asking myself, do you see what they each have in common?
There is one clear theme to all of the questions.
Every single one of them was about me.
The whole focus of every question is what’s going to happen to me at the meeting and how everyone who will be attending is going to perceive me. All due to my ever present public speaking fear and what may happen.
While this is the natural approach to start taking in the lead up to a presentation, it is utterly the wrong strategy to have running in a continual cycle through your mind.
So how do we stop running this cycle of all these ‘what if’ questions in the days before our presentation?
The answer is simple.
Stop being so selfish.
There I said it….
Stop being so selfish!
I do not mean to be harsh, but it is so important to get this point.
A critical first step in reducing our public speaking nerves in the lead up to a presentation is to change where we focus.
Focus away from your internal worries and concerns to those of the people attending the meeting.
What can you do for them?
As you redirect your focus away from internal thoughts and onto serving those attending the meeting, you will feel far less stressed and anxious.
About the Author
Andy O'Sullivan is an international bestselling author of 5 books on public speaking, pitching and presenting. Andy is a speaker and educator on the subject of how to survive and thrive in the business world with effective public speaking, pitching and presentation skills.