Mark and Janet Schlarbaum on Mar 29th 2010
Tips For Reducing Public Speaking Anxiety
Janet Schlarbaum Fearless Speaking By Chris St. Pierre
Anxiety can be triggered by a number of environmental stressors and conditions, but many people experience excessive anxiety and stress that’s rooted in the fear of public speaking. Public speaking anxiety can be caused by inexperience on stage, fear of failure, and a number of other reasons. Most causes are based on the person’s fundamental belief system about the situation. Here are some simple ways to reduce public speaking anxiety and the risk of a panic attack on stage:
1. Prepare your speech ahead of time. Being unprepared will naturally increase the risk of experiencing public speaking anxiety, so do whatever you can to lower your risk of experiencing your fear when it’s time to go on stage. Practice your speech in front of a mirror or camera if you need to so you know exactly what the audience will see.
2. Practice ‘big belly’ breathing. The University Center Rochester (UCR) reports that there are several ways to manage anxiety associated with giving a speech or a public speaking presentation. Experts at the University point out the importance of ‘big belly’ breathing because fear typically slows down the breathe and makes it difficult to concentrate. ‘Big belly’ breathing will help to open up your lunges and encourage oxygen flow throughout your body.
3. Plan to move while you speak. Standing in a single, fixed position for the entire speech may trigger some public speaking anxiety, so plan to move while you are delivering your speech. Moving your hands and walking across the stage will also help you communicate your message better with the audience.
4. Take breaks and pauses. One of the mistakes that many people make when they’re prone to experiencing public speaking anxiety is that they don’t take the time to take a break or pause during the session. This is especially important when you’re using visual aids because you need to guide the audience from point to point.
5. Avoid excessive caffeine and sugar. Caffeine can make you more nervous and jittery than you need to be when delivering your speech, and if you’ve experienced public speaking anxiety in the past, you should steer clear of caffeine and sugar. Both of these substances can make your heart race, make you sweat, and make it difficult to focus on the task at hand.
6. Wear comfortable clothing and shoes. You don’t want to worry about tugging at your shirt or walking a certain way to look calm and composed when you’re on stage. Some people experience public speaking anxiety because they simply aren’t comfortable when they’re up on stage. Prepare your outfit beforehand so that you know what you’re going to look like on stage, and how you feel in your outfit.
Reducing public speaking anxiety can be a challenge, and it will take time and practice to overcome it. Use these tips to help reduce your risk of a panic attack before you go on stage so that you can deliver a professional speech or presentation that the audience will enjoy and remember you for.
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