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Public Speaking

We have all heard the old adage that many would prefer death over speaking in public. Why is it that we naturally and instinctively can converse, yet when formalized, many of us freeze or cringe at the thought? Much has been written and businesses thrive to help address this long standing and restricting challenge.

So what really works? The following generally accepted strategies are typically employed and perhaps one might be for you.

Practice

There are numerous public speaking schools which along with the likes of Toastmasters advocate readiness in terms on Preparation, Practice and Repetition. With these you build a level of confidence that minimizes the fear.

Coping

Another approach is associated with what you do immediately prior to the event. There are numerous breathing exercises or you can bounce on a yoga ball to help to relax and get you grounded. For more information visit Cheryl Dolan and check out her “Top 5 tools for Platinum Presence”.

Medication

You can also get prescribed anxiety medications that slow down the heart rate and allow you breathe in a more relaxed manner. Be sure to consult with your doctor about the appropriateness of this for you.

Rewiring

Finally, there are also approaches that focus on understanding the beliefs that are creating the fears in the first place. This can often relate to a previous experience; it happened before and therefore our wiring to the brain suggests that it will happen again. Check out the Lefkoe Institute who offers a unique coaching experience in their attempt to remedy this challenge.

For so many, life would be so much more pleasant if this could be conquered. Their voice would be heard and they would have the opportunity to make more valuable contributions. So rather than simply accept and continue to feel this huge discomfort, do something about it. Now is as good a time to start!!

About Bill Sex

Bill Sex is President of New England Coaching and specializes in supporting personal, professional and organizational advancement with specific emphasis on coaching skills, emotional intelligence and employee engagement / motivation.

One Response

Comment from John Dawson
Time: January 21, 2013, 9:36 am

Can I add a another possibility. Choosing Presence rather learning speaking as a performance art. If you can learn to quieten the storm by being present in the moment then you can make really big shifts not just for public speaking but for other anxious times too. Learning to be present is akin to learning mindfulness.
The other crucial aspect is understanding really what is going on with an audience. I teach 40 public speaking courses a year and there seems to be a secret about public speaking that shouldn’t be a secret. It is understanding blank faces. As a speaker if we are not careful we carry on using normal conversational skills when we are speaking to a group.
When you have a standard conversation – you normally get nods, smiles, agreements back from the listener however when we speak to a group ALL that changes. All you see is blank faces.
So we start speaking to blank faces and they don’t usually smile (at least not very often) or nod their heads (some people will but again not a lot) so we are left struggling with critical thoughts about our performance. But blank faces are normal in audience – they are just listening faces.
So try not to read people’s faces when you speak publicly because your brain will interpret any sign as negative.
Of course there is more to getting your head around public speaking but when I teach public speaking this is the point that helps a lot of people.
Thank you for letting me post

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