Fear of public speaking is extremely common, especially if it is something you are not doing on a regular basis.
You may be filled with dread, waking several times the night before an event and you may even have nightmares about arriving late at the venue!
Here are three steps to help reduce your level of performance anxiety and overcome your public speaking fear:
We live and work within our Comfort Zone, and when we are asked to do something unfamiliar or difficult, we often shy away from it. But if you look for opportunities to stretch your Comfort Zone, you will find it grows. And a whole range of tasks and situations that you once found intimidating no longer create the same level of fear.
To help overcome your stage fright, look for opportunities to present, initially to small groups of people you know will support you. Book presentation dates and invite people - then you are less likely to walk away from the opportunity.
Start by delivering short sessions to small groups of people you know. The more you present, the easier it becomes.
If you do not have opportunities at work to present, join your local Toastmasters. They are a supportive group that meet regularly to help you overcome your fear of public speaking.
A couple of days before you are due to present, it is extremely important to get into the right mindset. Banish any negative thoughts from your brain as soon as they arrive. Your brain is like a computer; tell yourself that you are going to fail and it will do its best to help you.
So close the gates to that negative thinking!
Say to yourself "I can do it" and "I am a great presenter". Visualise yourself in front of the group delivering a great presentation with passion and pzazz.
Presenting in front of others can have a number of spin off benefits.
So, take the plunge. Plan and prepare well, and speak with passion. Your audience want you to succeed. You CAN overcome your fear of public speaking and banish that performance anxiety. As Susan Jeffers said; "Feel the fear and do it anyway"!
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