Lesson 2º








Fear of speaking in public

As I mentioned in the previous lesson, the audience is not your enemy, on the contrary, they are there because they believe the speaker can teach them something and that they are not wasting their time being there.

Therefore, you should not be afraid when you talk in public, something that, is usually common.

Being afraid about speaking in public is something natural, therefore you should not criticise yourself too much if this happens, or consider yourself a weak and insecure person.

What you need to do is analyze the fear that torments you and try to discover the cause of its origin.

You will discover that a large part of this fear is irrational, it is not due to logical motives (fear of looking ridiculous, fear that people will laugh at you, that you will stutter, that you will fall over, that you will demoralize your professional image, that people will boo you...)

These are situations that are not going to happen and therefore you have to reject this fear as being absurd.

Another type of fear can be rational: This fear is due to adverse situations that can present different problems (your mind could go blank, you might not know how to answer a question, the projector might not work, etc).

To get rid of this fear what you have to do is take possible measures to reduce the possibilities that these situations rise (for example, taking notes with you, preparing the speech off by heart, checking that the projector works, etc).

Sometimes you can be afraid because you think the audience is going to realize that you are afraid because you are suffering (sweating, trembling voice or trembling legs, facial expression, etc) but it is very difficult for this to happen:

They are physical reactions that one perceives but are hardly visible to others. Besides, if in the hypothetical sense the audience was to notice these things, they would think that these are perfectly natural reactions, that can happen to anyone.

The best way to combat fear is with adequate preparation: you need to work on and rehearse the speech rigorously.

Once you dominate the presentation the possibility of commiting mistakes reduces drastically; as this generates confidence and decreaes your level of anxiety.

It is also good to think positively, think about the great satisfaction that you will feel once you are extremely successful.

The speaker should convince themselves that if you prepare alot then success is in your reach.

Another way of getting rid of nervousness is carrying out, a few hours before the speech, intense physical exercise (a game of tennis, a run, etc).

This helps you burn energy and generate a physical tiredness that will help you to calm your nerves.

When the time comes to present you need to be able to make yourself calm, especially at the beginning.

If you manage to make yourself feel comfortable at the beginning, it is possible to remain like this throughout the speech.

To increase your clam state you need to not rush, look at the audience while you welcome them, adjust the microphone, organize your notes....and start speaking slowly.

You should never take pills or a few "drinks" as this can cause a state of confusion which makes presenting extremely difficult.

Anyway, a certain amount of nerviousness is not a bad thing, as it allows you to start your speech in a slighly agitated way, giving you more energy.