“The human brain is amazing. It starts to work when we are born and stops when we stand up to speak!” – George Jessel

I love that quote it’s true and funny if it is not a real issue for you. Fear of public speaking can be so frustrating and can hold you back if it means you clam up when given the opportunity to lead a team or promote your business.

Often clients will tell me they hear voices loudly in their head telling them all the negative reasons for not risking standing up in front of an audience.

  • Who wants to hear what you have to say?
  • Your nerves will show.
  • You know you will forget everything.

There is the double whammy of the physical symptoms. Feeling overwhelmed and full of dread at the thought of having to speak publicly is really common. Physically we can feel totally immobilised by fear.

Physical symptoms

  • A Dry Mouth
  • No Saliva
  • A Weak and Scratchy Voice
  • A Constant Need To Clear Your Throat
  • Feeling Sweaty
  • A Pounding Heart
  • Feeling Flushed and Red In The Face
  • You Feel Your Stomach is in Knots
  • You Feel Nauseous
  • Your Knees Knock

Performance Anxiety

If you feel any of the above symptoms and hear those negative voices, you are not alone. This is often called “Performance Anxiety”. Suffering in this way, it is hard to accept you could feel very differently.  When these feelings are channelled more positively it can help you to feel alert and energized when stepping up to speak, empowered as opposed to disempowered. Even the most experienced public speakers may suffer with some nervousness but they use their nervous anxiety positively, turning their nerves into excitement.  This might sound difficult to do but by following a few simple tips you will be surprised how much better and less anxious you will feel.

There are many techniques to reduce the anxiety you might be feeling, some are very basic and easy to apply and hugely effective:

Change The Way You Think

When you find yourself dreading that opportunity to speak, turn those thoughts around by saying “Wow! What a great opportunity, this is exciting!”

Also think of the audience as friendly, they want to hear what you have to share and believe it or not, they really do want to see you do well.

What We Think We Become!

Doing affirmations and visualisations can be very powerful. Say these affirmations to yourself often:

  • I love to speak in front of an audience!
  • I easily remember all I want to say.
  • I relax and enjoy myself.

Visualise yourself standing in front of the audience smiling appropriately, feeling relaxed with the audience responding warmly.

Breathing

Breathing – slow and deep. Focus on your breath and on slowing it down before you speak. Slow deep breathing has the effect of calming your anxious thoughts.

Alternate nostril breathing – also known as Yoga Nidra, balances left and right hemispheres of the brain, helping you to think clearly and slowing down erratic thinking and relieving feelings of panic.

To Cure A Dry Mouth

To increase saliva, bite gently on the back of your tongue each side, this helps to produce saliva and lubricates a dry mouth.

A second technique is to take the tongue around the front of the teeth several times and then reverse the direction (Do this as if you are cleaning the front of your teeth with your tongue). This will also help to produce saliva.

Seize the Opportunity

There are so many speaking opportunities out there, and there is no better way to promote yourself and your business. Be brave, take that step and see where it leads you.