Would you believe that the number one fear in the world is public speaking, above death and everything else? Even above death?
Fear is really False Evidence Appearing Real.
Research has shown that the biggest fear is because of self-consciousness of how an individual is coming across. The more that you can focus on your audience versus you, the less nervous you will become. Think of fear as Fully Engaged And Receptive; this will help eliminate traces of nervousness.
My suggestion however is you should not try to banish all fear and nervousness. You need a certain amount of fear to give a good speech. You say you need fear? Yes. Fear energizes you, it makes you think more rapidly, it helps you speak with vitality and enthusiasm. Here is why: when you stand up to give a speech and fear hits you, your body goes into “red alert,” the same biological mechanism that saved our cave dwelling ancestors when they were faced with a hungry lion and had to fight or flee in order to survive.
This same system comes into play in emergencies, for example: if you were walking down a deserted street and someone tried to attack you, your body would release a burst of adrenaline into your bloodstream, causing fresh blood and oxygen to rush into your muscles and you would be able to fight ferociously and run faster than you’ve ever run in your life.
The benefit of adrenaline can also be seen in competitive sports: athletes must get their adrenaline flowing before the game begins. The great homerun slugger Reggie Jackson said during his heyday, “I have butterflies in my stomach almost every time I step up to the plate. When I don’t have them I get worried because it means I won’t hit the ball very well.”
In public speaking adrenaline infuses you with energy, it causes extra blood and oxygen to rush, not only to your muscles but also to your brain, thus enabling you to think with greater clarity and quickness. It makes you come across to your audience as someone who is alive and vibrant.
It’s positive nervousness. It is a zesty enthusiastic, lively feeling with a slight edge to it. Positive nervousness is the state you’ll achieve by converting your anxiety into constructive energy. It’s still nervousness, but you are no longer victimized by it; instead you are vitalized by it. Fear is valuable; use it to your advantage.
Use it to your advantage by fully engaging your audience and being receptive to them – what you can give and what you can learn.
Dianne Durkin is president and founder of Loyalty Factor, a specialized consulting and training company that enhances employee, customer and brand loyalty for some of the nation’s most prominent corporations and many smaller businesses. Dianne’s proven expertise lies in helping companies quickly get to the core issues and outlining their impact on the organization’s profits, productivity and people. www.loyaltyfactor.com