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How to Deal with​ ​Public Speaking Anxiety

Posted by Jody Urquhart on Tue, Feb 06, 2018 @ 04:22 PM

funny motivational speakersA common question I get as a motivational speaker is how to control nervousness when speaking.

A great tip that has stuck with me over the years is that fear and excitement are nearly the same emotion, just on different ends of the spectrum. It's hard to tell if you are excited or scared. Thus, it is far better to label this feeling as excitement.

Why not channel your nervous energy into enthusiasm for the speech and the audience? The moment you mark your sweaty palms and the knocking of your knees as fear, it becomes fear and intensifies.

Shaun Resnic from VitalMe specializes in helping people overcome anxiety
that comes with public speaking. He has developed a formula called PITS to get rid of public speaking anxiety for good.

What I like most about Shaun’s formulae is it assumes anxiety is your teacher and we experience it so that we can learn a lesson. The reason we feel anxious is our body is trying to teach us something if only we’d listen! In my experience, this is bang on. 

Here is what PITS means:

Perception.  The fear acronym is:
False Expectation Appearing Real. This Faulty thinking causes anxiety. If you can alter your attitude to make it confident or even make some fun of it, you can change the way you perceive it.

One of the easiest ways to alter your perception is to laugh at it. Making fun of your response to stress helps take the sting out of it. Learn to take yourself lightly so you can take your speech seriously.

Invite the anxiety in instead of denying it. When you push away any emotion, it will build up and grow. If you let it go, it dissipates. Inviting the anxiety in 
shows your body you’re listening, so the anxiety subsides. Just like when you feel someone doesn't care about your ideas, discontentment grows. Anxiety works the same way, the more we try to push it down, it grows.

Teach. Treat anxiety as the teacher, not the enemy. We experience anxiety because it needs to teach us a lesson. What is it trying to tell you? Next, go toward the anxiety.  For example, as a motivational speaker, I struggle with feeling I won’t  be good enough. The message anxiety gives me is to not be so hard on myself, know that I am good enough and feel free to be myself

Step up.  You have to take action right away. What I love about public speaking is its very hands on. The moment you start speaking, you can see results with an audience right away. There is a lot of positive momentum just by doing it.  Even if it doesn't go exactly as you planned, you know that you gained valuable exposure and experience.

 

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