Tactics to overcome public speaking anxiety

Even the most successful, seemingly ever-confident, people in the world could have a fear of public speaking. They face the same struggles that you likely do, but have simply found effective ways to deal with this inconvenience.

For example, Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group, faced these very issues. He has stated on many occasions that speaking in front of a crowd absolutely terrified him, but that with scientifically backed techniques and help from professional coaches, he was able to overcome the fear and pave his path to success.

Just as Richard Branson has conquered his fear of public speaking, so can you.

Tons of research has been done on the effects that the fear of public speaking has on the mind, and how to subvert them to successfully speak in public.

If you want to quell the stress and anxiety of speaking in front of a crowd, try out these techniques to help calm your nerves:

  1. Talk Some Positivity Into Yourself

Using your name as opposed to the word “I” has a lot more power than you may realize.

Try pep talking yourself by saying something along the lines of “You have this [your name], nothing can stop you now!” Doing so can give you the same sort of confidence boost that you might gain if a friend or co-worker said the exact same words.

  1. Exercise Before the Presentation

Burning some light calories and stretching your muscles out is a great way to physically reduce your anxiety and get positive thoughts flowing. You don’t have to sweat a lot, but just a little to start gaining benefits from these sorts of exercises.

Some studies have shown conclusively that those who exercised for even a few minutes saw major boosts to their confidence, and a noticeably decreased level of anxiety when they exercised before delivering a public speech.

This happens because you are exposing your body to “positive stress” before doing an activity that is often associated with “negative stress” in your mind.

  1.  Don’t Force Yourself to Relax

Simply trying to force yourself to relax is ineffective.

In fact, many studies find that forcing yourself to relax often leads to increased anxiety. Instead of beating yourself up for not being able to calm down, simply try some of the other techniques on this list that are backed up by studies and experience instead.

  1. Keep Positive Always

While it may seem obvious, keeping a positive attitude is a must if you are going to successfully battle the anxiety of facing your fear of public speaking.

Even if you do great at implementing all of the other techniques on this list, it will all be for nothing if you do not also bring a positive can-do-attitude to your actions.

  1. Prepare For the Worst

Often times, things will not go as smoothly as you hope.

However, this does not mean that a simple hiccup or two will make your presentation a failure.

For those with a fear of public speaking, the idea of messing up is the main source of their anxiety. Mentally preparing yourself for worst case scenarios can help you realize that the minor hiccups are not that bad after all. Additionally, it can help you be prepared in case those worst-case scenarios really do happen. After all, damage control is very important.

The reason this works is because of a phenomenon known as “defensive pessimism,” which allows the mind to better deal with anxiety once it understands the consequences of a potentially negative scenario.

  1. Try Out Some “Power Poses”

Certain “power poses” have been shown to reduce anxiety and increase confidence.

There is a reason successful, well-spoken businessmen, and public speakers always seem to have the same air of physical confidence about them, after all.

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