Getting Over Your Fear Of Speaking in Public And Speak So People Will Listen
Is speaking in public paralyzing you and halting your career? When I was younger, I always had a tough go of public speaking. I remember back in college, (mind you, I returned to complete both my undergrad and masters in my early 40’s) I was literally paralyzed with fear the first time I presented in front of my class. My dear teacher saw me in the throes of a panic attack and gently looked at me with kindness and with that our eyes locked, and I was able to complete my speech.
We spoke briefly about the incident afterward, and I knew I had to do something to change my behavior and attitude about speaking, and fast. I decided to calm myself first. As a person who suffered from anxiety attacks, this was going to present a challenge for sure. I knew I was far from being a dolt and knew what I had to do to succeed in school and in life as well.
Now, remember, I am not a counselor or medical professional, but I don’t need to be to share what worked for me. Below, you will read about what I started doing to change my anxiety and change my attitude about speaking in public:
Key pointers I used to change my anxiety and change my attitude about speaking in public:
- I started focusing my attention on other students and watched their behaviors, and I took notes on what I observed – lots of them.
- I made sure I practiced speaking at home either alone or in front of my husband.
- I kept repeating to myself that nothing bad was going to happen and it was just a speech in front of other folks who I knew were just as anxious as I was.
- Breath – when we are anxious, this is the first thing we forget to do. Make a conscious effort to make yourself breath. Take slow and deep breaths.
- I kept telling myself over and over I could do this, and I was making it larger than life for no reason.
- I knew and believed that I would not let my anxiety control my life.
- I reminded myself that what I wanted was in reach and nothing would stop me.
Within about three weeks, I was actually able to stand in front of the class without panic. Above all, I found that practicing was key in overcoming this unfounded fear. I was focused and present. My professor was shocked at my improvement as well as my friends and family. I worked hard on dealing with that anxiety issue, and what I came to achieve in my professional career still astounds me.
One of the positions I held in NYC required me to not only teach to a classroom of over 100 people, but I had to provide motivational speeches as well. Teaching is one thing – motivational speeches are another. Again, I used the same principles and they worked exactly the same. I ended up having a wonderful, exciting professional career only because I would not let my anxiety and fear run my life!
OK, I had successfully nailed the fear factor and now I had to learn how to make folks want to listen to what I had to say. I knew this was paramount in being a good speaker – to have folks listen. Listening and hearing are two different things, and I wanted them to listen and learn! Over the years, I have learned so many tips and tricks to get folks to want to listen – some I keep near to my heart and always make manifest.
There are also companies like Media Minded that provide training courses to help with a multitude of communication issues. They provide training that focuses on how to communicate with greater confidence. Training courses like those at Media Minded have been known to greatly assist in these types of situations.
A while ago, I saw a video on TED Talk about listening (they also have other videos which I adore and watch almost every day. Let me digress for a minute and tell you how amazing TED videos are. Their videos are inspiring, educational, motivational, and moving. Here are some of the categories they have to choose from.
OK, now back to what I learned about getting folks to listen and the video from TED. It’s called How to Speak so that People want to Listen. It really summarizes the best of what I learned through the years.
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