Fear of public speaking is a common form of anxiety. Everyone gets nervous before giving a speech. Full disclosure – I get nervous too. In fact I rarely eat much before a presentation. (About 15 minutes into my speech or workshop I’m starving!)

How can anxiety be useful in public speaking?

Public speaking creates an increase in adrenaline. What you do with this extra jolt separates those that become miserable at the lectern vs those that become more energized.

How can you capitalize on this extra jolt of energy?

  • Accept the obvious. Do NOT wish this anxiety to go away. That takes you down a slippery negative slope. You can’t undo these nerves and then you feel even more anxiety when the nervousness persists!
  • Do the reverse. Say to yourself, “Great – I’ve got this extra energy. All good.”
  • Don’t say, “I’m nervous”. Say, “I’m excited”. It makes a difference.
  • Think of this boost of adrenaline as a shot of caffeine.
  • Do all of the steps we’ve blogged about to ensure your success, like being prepared, knowing your audience, getting to the venue early, drinking room temp water, practicing out loud and doing some pre vocal warmups.

What happens if you are NOT nervous/excited?

What if your upcoming speech is the 29th time you’re giving the exact same message? You’re almost lethargic. Not good!

Find ways to add some nervousness/energy … as counter-intuitive as this sounds.

  • Shake it up – rework your topic.
  • Create new visuals.
  • Try new material.

The paradox of the fear of public speaking

You need the extra adrenaline. Use it to add more energy to your delivery. It’s a good thing.

Author: Karen Cortell Reisman is Founder of Speak For Yourself®, a communication consulting firm, and the author of 2 books on how to communicate. She lives in Dallas, Texas and she always has nuts or a protein bar with her at a speaking gig to snack on once her appetite kicks in.

© 2022 Karen Cortell Reisman, All rights reserved

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