Conquering The #1 Fear in America

Heights? No biggie. Flying spiders? Pssshhh, piece of cake. Slender man? My best bud! Public speaking? ….let’s not go there. Just the thought of public speaking is enough to trigger a cold sweat in most people. In fact, the Chapman University Survey on American Fears found that 25.3% of Americans fear speaking in front of crowds, making public speaking the most common fear among Americans. Despite the known tortures of giving presentations, it seems like speaking engagements are inescapable regardless of what industry you’re in or job title you have. In the spirit of beginning to get chummy with public speaking, here are some pro tips for conquering this frequent fear!

1. Rehearse till it hurts

It’s okay to be nervous, everyone experiences physiological effects of public speaking. Although you might not be able to fend off the shaky legs and sweaty hands that come with presenting, if you’re prepared, you’ll be able to overcome those physiological symptoms. I know you don’t want anyone to catch you talking to yourself, but take the risk anyway! Saying your presentation out loud instead of just in your head will make a world of a difference. Go ahead and video tape yourself to practice feeling as uncomfy as possible! My favorite trick? Sneak into the venue you’ll be speaking at (after hours, of course) and go through what you’re going to say in the physical space that you’ll be in on actual the day of your presentation…your nerves will thank you later 😉.

2. Master your mantra
In my opinion, the stress and anxiety leading up to the presentation is worse than actually giving the presentation. One of the best ways to combat those nerves is to reframe how you think of them. If you keep reminding yourself of how nervous you are, you’re only sabotaging your success. Instead, take a page from the well-polished book of thought leader and public speaker, Simon Sinek. Whenever he’s nervous before a speaking engagement, he reframes his nervousness by telling himself that he’s just excited. I have a mantra that’s along the same lines, although definitely more embarrassing. As I’m awaiting my turn to speak, I repeat to myself, “Put me in, coach!”, just so I get hyped up and confident instead of dauntingly anxious 🙈!

3. Picture the applause
You’ve just finished your presentation and the crowd is going WILD. People are giving you a standing ovation, your bosses come up and shake your hand, you              are the GOAT (greatest of all time, for those who are perpetually confused by the lingo of kids these days). Nevertheless, envisioning yourself destroying that presentation and being submerged in waves of relief afterwards is a great way to cope with the stress that comes beforehand. By knowing that a grand applause is on its way, you’ll be able to own the stage and ooze confidence!

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Don’t you feel more prepared already? You might as well be the next Tony Robbins! If you want to do more than just conquer the fear of public speaking, stay tuned for next week’s post where we’ll talk about how to really captivate your audience 😊.


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