The most common phobia people have is the fear of “public speaking”. Some people dread it more than death. Schools and colleges would love to encourage their students to cultivate such skill, but don’t quite know how to do it.
Worse, the grading system a teacher used at school may not necessarily be the same grading system one will get at work or in front of their clients. Do you agree?
In schools, probably you are just told to stand in front of the class and read your report or present your projects assigned to you.
Being judged by the teacher and your peers can either make you love or hate the attention you get from speaking. Sometimes, they scrutinised every word you said and every movement you made, don’t they?
Let’s just face it: “What are the chances of us making mistakes when we were put under such stressful condition?”
On the other side, what does a confident speaker/presenter looks to you? How are they like? How do they behave?
Question: “Why is having confidence in your speaking skill important to you?”
(Please pause your reading for 1 minute and type your answer in the comment box below. The more I get to know about you, the better tips I can offer.)
Some of the answers I received about being a confident speaker, so that they can…
- Break ice and build rapport more easily with strangers – especially during business meetings.
- Get higher chance to be promoted to managerial positions where managers have to present and train their own team.
- Be taken seriously. Nobody wants to work with somehow who is unsure of himself.
Yes, go ahead and type your answers in the comment box if you have not done so.
Awesome! Now that you want to BE a more confident speaker and presenter, here are my Ultimate Fear Crushing Techniques I practice and cultivate every time before I speak.
#1: Have a Powerful Posture
Your body language says everything about you. Our human brains is able to subconsciously tell the qualities of a person just by looking at the way he walks, he stands and the way he moves about the room.
We will kind of subconsciously know whether a person is confident, trustworthy or good to work with.
Organisational psychologist Professor Amy Cuddy has shown that when people change their postures into dominant poses, their testosterone goes up and their cortisol goes down.
What this means is that by changing the way you stand, walk and move, you are able to reduce your stressful hormones that are not serving you well and INCREASE those hormones that will make you more alert – a hormone that is able to help you to pay better attention and give better focus in your presentation.
Also more importantly, those changes are associated with leadership roles and presenters do feel more powerful when they have a powerful posture.
Walk on stage with confidence, with your shoulders back and arms powerful. Don’t allow yourself to be stiff; just be real and be strong.
#2: Remember to Breathe…
Whenever you experience danger or fear, your body will go through these 3 stages:-
- You Freeze. Freezing is a very, very common reaction to deadly danger. It is a simple survival response your body has learnt to produce long ago.
- You Run Away. Once you know that there is danger, your body will produce chemicals into your brains to tell you to run away, as fast as possible.
- We Fight. If we can no longer run away, the only way to stay alive is to fight.
So if public speaking is such a scary thing, then it is safe to say that most human beings would have at least experience the FROZEN stage at the very beginning, before they start speaking.
When freezing, you are not breathing deeply and chances are, you are on your toes, getting ready to go. Right? Sound familiar?
The Biggest Mistake most amateur speakers did and did not realise, was to allow their fear to progress into the third stage – they started fighting it.
That was how ‘syiok sendiri’ speakers came about. These are speakers who could go on and on speaking without pausing… Well, I’m sure you could tell whether a speaker was giving you valuable information or just wasting your time.
To handle your fear, practice healthy, deep breathing techniques to improve your ability to be effective whenever you are facing a particularly stressful situation.
So it’s natural that you’d need it before delivering presentations, or when you’re about to deliver bad news, or when you need to ask for something important.
Deep breathing helps relieve nervous energy. It helps develop a strong voice and it helps to get you to adjust into your power posture.
Unfortunately, most of us breathe with our shoulders. We’re shallow “chest breathers” where our stomach goes in and shoulders go up. But if you fill your lungs with a deep inhale and follow it up with a slow exhale, it will relax and refresh you.
Now, take a deep breath….. and… exhale.
Stay tune for more Ultimate Fear Crushing Techniques in the next article.
Serving you from the stage,
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