Anxiety and Public Speaking

Have you ever had one of those moments where you wish you could crawl into a dark hole and never be seen again? Welcome to Public Speaking! BUT…It doesn’t have to be that way!

Public Speaking doesn’t always go the way that we plan, sometimes anxiety and self-doubt can be that voice in our head making the experience less than enjoyable. I’ve tripped going on stage, fallen over a microphone cable, been so nervous that I’ve sweat through my t-shirt and I’ve even had a coughing fit while trying to speak to an audience of 400. Yet I still get up and speak, silence the nervous and anxious thoughts and remind myself why I’m sharing on a certain topic – to help people!

What I’ve learnt about public speaking and anxiety so far:

#1 SELF-CONIDENCE

Sometimes embarrassing things can happen. Laugh it off and move on, it’s not the end of the world, even though it may feel like it. Self-Confidence is key!

#2 SELF-TALK

What you tell yourself leading up to a presentation is so important… I like to call it my ‘Self- Talk. I always remind myself that even if I feel nervous and anxious, I need to get up and do it anyway. Anxiety is about feeling those feelings and still doing it. Don’t let anxiety hold you back! Use your self-talk to encourage and remind yourself that you are a confident person, even if in that moment you feel terrified, nervous and are sweating.

#3 BE PREPARED

Practise your presentation, make notes and memorise it. If you don’t find public speaking natural, practise and make notes, I promise this will help with nerves and feelings of anxiousness. If everything turns to custard while you are speaking (hopefully it doesn’t) you can refer to your notes. Although it’s never a good idea to write notes on your hand, I’ve done that before and I got so sweaty it came off…FAIL!

#4 IT TAKES TIME

Being a great communicator takes time. Is takes 10,000 hours to master any skill, which is more than a year of continuous presenting with no sleep to become an expert. It’s normal to feel nervous and have some anxiety around public speaking but the more you speak the more comfortable you’ll become.

#5 PRACTISE MINDFULNESS

Public speaking can be a massive challenge, it’s one of people’s biggest fears. You aren’t alone if you struggle with public speaking. Before your next presentation, speech or business pitch, take some time out before your speech to practice mindfulness. Find a quiet space and begin to calm the nervous by being mindful of your space and thoughts. I’ve delivered 1,000 presentations and yet this is one of the MOST IMPORTANT THINGS I do every single time.

See videos and interviews at www.develophq.com for further tips on managing anxiety.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kirsty Steel

Kirsty has been dedicated to training and developing the lives of people for over a decade throughout Australasia. She has presented health and wellbeing presentations to over 80,000 people ranging from not-for-profits, corporate businesses to schools, teen parenting units and youth prison.

Along with a Bachelor of Communication Studies and Certificate in Tertiary Teaching, Kirsty has also completed Eating Disorder Facilitation and Applied Suicide Intervention. Her passion to see people living a happy, healthy life is what sparked the idea to start Develop HQ.

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