8 Tips on How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking
In this post, I will share a few tips on how to overcome the fear of public speaking with you based on what I have come to learn about our psychology while trying to work on my own inner issues.
Glossophobia is the term used for this type of fear, I was not at all aware of that word years ago when my legs were shaking while singing in my college festival but recently when I was on the stage with a mic in one of my friend’s wedding celebrations I realized that all the inner works I have done have paid off and I was standing so confidently there as if I was standing in front of familiar people in any usual gathering.
It was so relieving to know that my perception about the crowd was wrong earlier because I used to see faces that were looking at me condescendingly before I worked on my mindset and now I actually saw the truth.
What’s the truth?. Well, it really does not matter to people what you are going to do, they are just there hoping that you will somehow take their mind off their usual concerns and if you don’t, they get bored. But in no way, they are superior to you and you must always keep that in mind.
For people who are looking at you, it is like just one of those few minutes that they spend in front of a television but for you, it can be a moment where you judge yourself by imagining as if people are thinking that you are a wuss, I can’t use any other word because that’s what we think of ourselves when we lack the essential self-confidence.
Your mindset is reflected in your actions and your actions, in turn, fortifies that old mindset, so you need to do some serious inner work in order to be a confident person.
Why Do You Fear the Audience?
Have you ever asked that question to yourself? Why is it that you can do some things perfectly when you are alone and it goes wrong when people are watching you?
That’s the fear of being judged, you don’t want to fail and that fear itself causes you to fail.
What you believe to be other people’s opinions about you is actually your own true opinion about yourself otherwise it won’t bother you much. That applies to all cases, doesn’t it?
The self-image I am referring to is your beliefs about yourself in your own inner mind, you may not be aware of it consciously but whenever you find yourself in trouble due to lack of confidence, you can see how it works to create a personality that you might want to change.
Your actual problem is not the “fear”, it is just a symptom, the root cause on which you might want to keep working is your mindset because no matter how better you get, there is always room for some improvement.
Here are a few things you can do to deal with the fear of public speaking:-
# 1 Practise
This is an obvious point, when you practice something over and over it gets easier because your mind gets trained. No person in the world who is good at speaking in front of a large crowd was always that confident.
If you will focus on practicing your speech then your fear will not succeed in ruining your plans. Though this will not lessen the fear but getting good at something will help you to carry it out without mistakes despite your trepidation.
#2 Smaller Audience
Before speaking in front of a large crowd you can prefer to speak in front of a smaller group. Even a single spectator can help you with this. If your profession calls you to stand in front of a lot of people to share your thoughts then with time you will naturally get better since our fears are usually related to the uncertainty.
When you learn to be comfortable when even a few people are watching you while you speak, it will abate your overwhelming emotions to a great level.
If you are speaking in front of a big audience and you are nervous then you can lessen your anxiousness by looking at a single person in the crowd, it’s a type of psychological hack I read in Mike Ackre’s Speak with No Fear book.
# 3 Use Your Imagination
Creative visualization is not only a great tool for working on your inner mind but it also gives you an opportunity to improve at something beforehand. If you can imagine yourself standing in front of the crowd and then practice while visualizing the people, you can train yourself to stay calm when it actually happens.
Your mind cannot differentiate between what’s real and what’s imagined, that’s why if you will hone your skill by visualizing the actual scenario, it can be a great help.
# 4 Mirror Method
You might be aware of this method already because it is a very famous psychological hack. When you practice your speech in front of a mirror it can highly improve your on-stage skills.
The reason why this is so effective is due to the fact that your fears are always based on your own judgments about yourself as I have said before.
So when you are in front of an audience, what makes you nervous is the thought of your “appearance” or how people see you, it is all in your mind.
By improving how you appear while speaking by observing yourself in the mirror, you are creating some little movie clips that will flash in front of you when you will actually speak in front of people and it will convince you that things are going well.
# 5 Learning to Deal with Rejection
Your crowd is not always going to be friendly. Did I scare you? Well, that’s what you have been actually preparing yourself for by striving to be perfect.
The real reason for our fears is that we don’t like to be rejected. Whether you pull yourself back from asking help from a stranger, talking to someone you are attracted to or speaking in front of people, you are just avoiding rejection.
If you are willing to be confident on the stage, you need to be willing to accept rejection otherwise you may succeed a few times but one bad audience can cause you a lifetime of trauma.
There are things you can do to deal with rejection and that will allow you to be less harmed from other people’s opinions, being comfortable with rejection makes life a lot easier.
# 6 Deep Breathing
When you are on stage and you find yourself nervous, with a little observation you will find that the emotions are caused by self-doubting thoughts that are unwarranted, all you need to do in such moments to gain the control back is to bring your mind into the present moment.
This is why mindfulness exercises are so effective, it helps you become completely present in the “now” moment.
A few deep breaths during the moment before you go in front of people can be very useful for you in order to find the essential peace of mind.
# 7 Get Out of Your Comfort Zone
A frog in the well is always afraid to get out in the uncertain outside world, but also it is the same aversion to the chaos which kills it when the water dries up.
The fear that takes us over when we stand on the stage is not something that appears instantaneously, it is the sum total of the emotions that we avoid in our everyday life by trying to play it safe.
If you really want to be a confident person who can walk on to the stage anytime, you need to face those fears in situations where you are afraid of taking the risks.
# 8 Meditation
The desire to be seen as “the person we want to be” arises from our ego, an unhealthy self-image can cause a lot of problems because in moments like speaking in front of a large audience we totally forget our actual purpose there and get engaged in the thoughts of impressing people.
I have mentioned in one of the above points that bringing your focus into the present moment is essential for you when you are nervous but the self-awareness that is needed to be able to change your focus while feeling such strong emotions can only be achieved with constant practice of meditation.
Any simple meditation like the insight meditation can help you to increase your self-awareness.
So these were few things you can do to deal with the stage fear but as I have said before this is just working on the symptom and if you want to work on the root cause i.e. to alter your self-image so that you can become confident enough to powerfully influence people then I would like to suggest you Marisa Peer’s Uncompromised Life program, where she teaches her very effective transformational hypnotherapy.
Here’s one very interesting short video on stage fright by Marisa that might be useful to you:-
I am recommending this program because I have seen some great results using those methods so I believe it can be highly helpful to you if you are willing to work on your inner beliefs. Also if your profession is such that you frequently need to face a large audience then you can also try to improve your public speaking skills by opting for a good course that is specifically based on this subject like Steve G. Jones’ Public Speaking Certification course.
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