Fear of public speaking is incredibly common. I’m sure you’ve heard the interesting statistic that more people fear public speaking than dying (and so, the majority of people would opt for being in the coffin rather than giving the eulogy!).
I can completely sympathize with this (well, not the coffin part, but the fear that comes with speaking in public). The first time I stood up to speak in front of a classroom of people when I was in graduate school, I was incredibly nervous. Up to that point, I had never even considered public speaking. And it was virtually disastrous. My voice was shaky, my heart was beating high up in my throat, and my mouth was so dry I could hardly recognize my voice as words came out.
The thing is, it gets easier. I’m not saying it goes away entirely. I’m not saying that your anxiety will be gone in three simple steps. This is unrealistic. But, there are ways to work around the anxiety, to channel the nervous energy, to recognize it and put it aside so it does not interfere with our performance abilities.
Overcoming fear of public speaking is a long-term process. I would be happy to work with you so you can conquer your fears and move forward toward your bold and brilliant voice. I assure you, this is completely doable.
In the meantime, here are a few key things to keep in mind if and when you are speaking in public:
- Your nervousness does not show!
- Your audience is rooting for you — they want you to succeed.
- You are in control of your nerves — preparing mentally (by engaging in breathing exercises or visualizing a positive outcome, for example) and practicing your presentation until you have got it down perfectly are great ways to take charge of and conquer your fears.
- Finally, think about this: even if you deliver a disastrous performance (you won’t!), nothing bad will happen to you. Nothing at all.