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How to Calm Your Fear of Speaking

How to Calm Your Fear of Speaking

 “If your heart takes a nosedive while flying, you’re not alone.”

Wait a minute! You want to know ways to soothe your fear about speaking, not flying.

 Angela Haupt, a health and wellness editor at Time Magazine, suggests 4 calming techniques for navigating turbulent skies. Her strategies also work for handling the fear of public speaking.

 Try Haupt’s ideas for taming your qualms – whether you’re at the lectern/board meeting/strategy retreat or 30,000 feet above it.

 ✈️  Tip One: Do your due diligence

To get calmer, Haupt suggests you “fly best if you understand everything about your trip—including what type of plane, the forecast, and expected turbulence.” There’s even a link to get turbulence info!

🎤  Same strategy for your next speaking or meeting event. Find out all the details up front from logistics to audience analysis to possible contentious topics. Fewer surprises equals more predictability.

✈️  Tip Two:  Establish some sense of control over your environment.

On the plane bring your own pillow, blanket and music. Close the window shade, listen to your playlist, breathe deeply and visualize a tranquil space you’ve visited before.

Bonus Tip: Arrive early for your flights AND for your presentations

🎤  Back to earth… before your speaking engagement I recommend that you

  • listen to your favorite upbeat music
  • breathe in slowly, hold for 4 seconds and exhale slowly (repeating 3 times)
  • picture your past positive speaking engagements.

✈️  Tip 3: Journal your positive mantra.

On the plane you might say or write, “I’m ok. I’m safe. Planes aren’t so bad.”

🎤  On your way to the mic, repeat your pre-planned positive mantra. I ask all my clients to design this personal phrase. Some examples, “I got this”; “I know that I know”; “Fake it till you make it”.

✈️  Tip 4: Consider Exposure Therapy.

Haupt says that if you can’t shake the fear of flying than gradually expose yourself to flying. You might visualize the process of boarding a plane up to facing the fear directly by climbing onto a stationary plane.

🎤  Similarly, for speaking anxiety take baby steps. Speak up at the least stressful venues such as dinner with friends, your place of worship or a community project you’re passionate about. Then up your game gradually to business settings.

 Bottom line

✈️  🎤  I hope these strategies make you more comfortable with public speaking rather than less comfortable getting on an airplane! Have safe travels and calmer speaking gigs! 🎤  ✈️

© 2024 Karen Cortell Reisman, All rights reserved.

Photos taken by Karen and Jimmy at Buenos Aires Aeroparque & Dallas Lovefield Airport

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