It is not that far fetched for me to say this.
Even professional speakers feel the jitters when it comes to speaking in public. Yes, even if they have done it a gazillion times over the course of their professional lives. Cause no audience is ever the same.
So what does that make you? A non professional aspiring public speaker. Or even perhaps an aspiring content creator on YouTube. And perhaps a small business owner who is trying to create branding videos. Will you feel the same fear and get anxious all over?
The need to manage and overcome performance anxiety is real. Most public communicators go through a zone of fear and uncertainty, that zooms them into an unexplained state of irrationality.
So how do you manage a bit of that dreadful anxiety?
Here are some quick hacks I use for myself.
Minimize Your Preparations
This may seem contradictory to the norm of being competent. However, I have discovered over the course of my coaching engagements, that 7 out of 10 aspiring speakers fluffed as a result of being over prepared.
Yes. Over preparations.
Over preparations in most cases put a level of unnecessary stress on the speaker. The speaker will have that immense need of wanting to tick off all that preparations in his head. Leaving no room for errors can sometimes be the exact reason why people become more anxious than they should be.
Preparations should put you in a state of being able to navigate expertly and flexibly during the presentation. It should not be a straight jacket that paralyzes you.
Regulate Your Breathing
What has breathing got to do with managing your anxieties as a speaker?
There have been many times when my inability to control my breathing, led me to losing my voice and stage presence.
The anxieties you have as a public speaker or presenter can be the cause and effect of irregular breathing. A speaker who is anxious will not breathe properly. Likewise, when you do not breathe properly, anxiety will set in. Therefore it is important you take note of the following with regards to breathing in managing your anxities.
- Be aware of your positional posture. A wide and relaxed posture aids in allowing more air to be breathed in and regulated.
- Breathe deeply and slowly. Take intentional deep breaths before you speak.
- Pause and regulate. Speaking fast is the surest way to lose your breathing patterns and create unnecessary stress. Relax
- Breathe through your nose. It is amazing just how many people are not aware that breathing through the mouth is not just more taxing, it also does not help with anxiety management.
- Relax. Relax. Relax. While it may seem easier said than done, it actually is quit manageable. Relaxation requires the practice of being able to quieten or shutting down your lizard brain. When you relax, your breathing becomes manageable.
progression not perfection
Most speakers believe in that unverified claim that competency lies in the perfect delivery of your speech. Where your voice does not crack, you are maintaining eye contact, your words come out fluently and everything is done in one perfect take.
Well, here’s the great news. You need not buy into that “perfect” bullshit.
Delivering a speech is not an Olympic sport. Meaning that there are no actual parameters by which you can be judged and marked with. The pressure and anxiety of “meeting some invisible benchmarks” can be crippling. What you need to do is to manage the controllable aspects of your delivery or presentation. Understand that most of the anxieties is actually happening inside your mind, rather than it being manifested in reality. So, if you can instead manage your priorities and expectations, you are more likely to succeed at managing your public speaking anxieties.
Some of the progressive expectations you can have for yourself include,
- To speak freely with sincerity
- To have a good networking session
- To share your expertise with love
- To teach a good knowledge
Public speaking anxiety is manageable and definitely not something that you have to suffer in silence with. Usually, all it takes is a bit of perspective framing coupled with practical techniques to help you out.