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Category Archives: Overcoming the Fear of Speaking

Overcoming Your Fears of Public Speaking

Patricia FrippBy Featured Speaker Patricia Fripp

You’re waiting your turn to make a speech, when suddenly you realize that your stomach is doing strange things and your mind is rapidly going blank. How do you handle this critical time period?

In all of my speaking classes, students ask me how to handle public speaking nervousness, fears, jitters, anxieties – and the physical symptoms these feelings produce. There is no single answer; you must prepare by anticipating your speech mentally, logistically, and physically.

Mentally
Start by understanding that you’ll spend a lot more time preparing than you will speaking. As a general rule, invest three hours of preparation for a half hour speech, a six to one ratio. When you’ve become a highly experienced speaker, you may be able to cut preparation time considerably in some cases, but until then, don’t skimp.

Part of your preparation will be to memorize your opening and closing — three or four sentences each. Even if you cover your key points from notes, knowing your opening and closing by heart lets you start and end fluently, connecting with your audience when you are most nervous.
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Can’t they see I’m nervous?

As you step up to the front of the room, you can feel your face flush and your ears burn. Your hands are shaking as you take command of the stage. A little voice in the back of your head is telling you that everyone can tell how nervous you are.

That little voice lies.

You might be surprises how many people are actually oblivious to your nervousness. And there are two big reasons for this:

1) You’re probably not as obviously nervous as you think you are.
I know from my own personal experience, that sometimes when your face and ears feel hot, they haven’t changed color at all. Also, a small tremor in your hands that isn’t noticeable to the audience, can feel like your hand is jerking about wildly. But it’s not.

2) If you play your cards right, your presentation will wow them so much they’ll never get around to noticing your nervousness.
When I gave my first speech for my current Toastmasters club, I was so nervous I was actually seeing purple in the sides of my vision and I was convinced I was going to faint right there in front of them. I even forgot some of my stories. But when I asked around the room after my presentation, no one had a clue I was nervous. You can see a video of that speech here.

I believe I was able to hide my nervousness using these few tips I’d like to share with you today.
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When Nervousness Makes Your Voice Quiver

Nancy DanielsBy Featured Speaker Nancy Daniels

Has this ever happened to you? You stand to give your speech or presentation; and, when you begin speaking what comes out of your mouth is higher in pitch and quivering to boot. So what is to be done?

In most cases, nervousness is the cause of the quiver. (There are some voices, however, that quiver whether one is nervous or not.) There is a means of eliminating the quiver that works even when you are nervous.

Personally, I like nervousness. It is that wonderful rush of adrenaline that, if used to your advantage, can give you an edge in public speaking. What I don’t want, however, is for your nervousness to be seen or heard. The quiver is definitely telling your audience that you would rather be somewhere else.

A quivering voice is the result of stress and pressure on your delicate vocal folds (cords) and throat. Nervousness exacerbates the problem. By learning how to breathe with the support of your diaphragm and allowing your chest to become your primary amplifier, you will find the quiver disappearing automatically. It is truly amazing to see and hear this happen.
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