To speak confidently is something everyone is entitled to. Anyone who is afraid of talking to the public should know that they are far from alone. In reality, according to the American Fears Survey of Chapman University, 58 percent of individuals have this fear, with one in ten defining themselves as “very scared.” Glossophobia (the technical term) of some people can even contribute to an “amygdala hijack,” a state known as fighting, flight, or freezing. They may experience pounding their hearts in this state, sweating palms, or feeling nauseous.
Even after a career as a TV news anchor, speaker and coach in front of the audience, I still sometimes have to battle off my own public speech fear. I also operate with CEOs and other managers who are constantly experiencing this fear. To overcome this, I have created a scheme. It’s all about replacing adverse ideas and self-doubt emotions with positive thoughts and self-assurance emotions.
1. Create a Positive Emotional Memory Store
The key is to build a space in your mind— like a mental room you can enter when confronted with circumstances of high stakes. Fill this room with memories of particular favorable times in your lives when you have been successful and feeling in command. Whether from friends, peers, or an audience, it usually enables if these are times when you experienced awards for your achievement. These moments need not specifically require an experience of public speaking.
You may have a lot of memories like that. I suggest you concentrate on those you can most vividly remember and evoke the biggest prowess emotions. Imagine visual depictions of these times, like pictures or video clips, which you can literally “watch” in your mind. It enables to build something concrete for some individuals first. It’s what I’m doing. I’ve got a wall in my house where I placed pictures of some of those times. This wall is indelibly printed in my mind so that when I begin to feel nervous, I can readily remember.
You may want a collage or a video reel to be created online. Or you might find that you don’t need this step, and in your mind you can generate a virtual highlight reel. Do anything that works best for you.
2. Use The Store And Keep It Up To Date
Think of it as a mental library that you can go into once you have this database in your mind. You browse what’s there each time you step in and “check out” the beneficial feelings that come from it. You feel a feeling of ease and trust when you step out of that virtual space. Before a lecture, do this right. I closed my eyes and photographed my database. My fears are subsiding in that room. I’m packed with restored trust.
But that’s just the start. No matter how much you “psych yourself” before a conversation, you may discover your fear resurfaces during that conversation. Or something, beyond your control, may go incorrect. Once, with 60 seconds to air, I was hosting a televised pageant, my TelePrompTer was black. Suddenly a feeling of panic settled in. But I was thinking about some of those favorable memories as I spoke. I didn’t have to close my eyes. I just accessed those moments, and there was a sense of positivity. For 90 seconds (which can feel like a lifetime) I was able to ad-live seamlessly until my script reappeared.
Researchers have studied this effect, finding that “a re-experience of positive emotions” can trigger positive memories. They can help us create new neural pathways. The more successful your talks will be, the more you do this. Take these experiences and add them to your database along with other beneficial experiences, such as getting promoted, finishing a marathon, or just having a good day at job. For 30 years, I’ve been updating mine. And I often work with individuals in authority positions like CEOs and CFOs who discover they need to continue doing this.
Ultimately, it’s a way to build a healthy, positive relationship with yourself. In my workshops and keynotes, I remind people that in this vast world you are one person, yes, but to at least one person you are the world. Honor that by being able to see, feel and re-experience your achievements. You will develop the trust you deserve over time and with practice.
General Tips That Can Help You Speak Confidently
These 9 tips will help you get over your nervousness and speak confidently while speaking in public.
1. Bear in mind that everyone gets nervous even the most experienced speakers get nervous sometimes.
2. Prepare your speech well before speaking.
3. Practice makes perfect. Go through your speech over and over again.
4. Breathe in slowly and deeply through your nose and breathe out slowly. Do this 3 times and you will feel your nerves relaxing and help you speak confidently.
5. Focus on your audience.
Pay attention to your audience. Ask them if they hear and understand you. 6. Keep it short and simple. Too much speech will eventually get boring and your audience will lose focus.
7. Try and imagine a successful speech. Visualize yourself speaking with confidence and the audience cheering you up.
8. Try to connect with some of your audience before the speech. Getting to know some of your audience before the speech will make you a better speaker because you will feel like you are talking to some of your friends.
9. Act confident even though you are not. Stick your chest out, look straight and put a smile on your face!
Ochemba Callistus Chinedu is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Medical Laboratory science and hopes to become a Medical Lab Scientist. He enjoys reading, writing, traveling, general health, and learning new things.