How to calm your nerves before speaking in public: 4 methods

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How to calm your nerves before speaking in public: 4 methods

Many of us feel very uncomfortable if we have to speak in front of an audience. Yes, this is a good opportunity to attract attention and stand out among colleagues, but many public appearances are seriously scary. Fortunately, there are proven methods that can help calm down and not panic.

1. Think of anxiety as a pleasant excitement.

If you are afraid of public speaking, do not listen to those who advise “just calm down and talk.” Your palms are sweating and your heart is racing fast? Think of it as signs of joyful excitement, not alarm! A study at Harvard Business School proved that this method really works. The effectiveness of your anxiety actions depends largely on how you perceive your feelings.

The authors of the study invited the subjects to sing the song Don’t Stop Believin ’in front of the audience. Before the performance, some of the subjects repeated “I’m scared,” others said: “I feel a pleasant excitement,” and the rest did not say anything. Those who claimed to be experiencing pleasant excitement showed themselves best of all.

If we try to convince ourselves that we are calm, we perceive the speech as a threat

In another experiment, subjects had to make a short speech in front of an audience. Before this, some of them had to say “I am calm,” and part – “I feel a pleasant excitement.” Independent observers rated the performances of subjects from the second group higher.

Scientists believe that, encouraging a pleasant excitement in ourselves, we begin to consider the upcoming performance as a good opportunity, and if we try to impress upon ourselves that we are calm, we automatically perceive the performance as a potential threat.

2. The main thing is the ideas that you want to convey to the audience

Yes, the opportunity to give a speech to people equal in status to you is a kind of honor. But do not worry too much about what the boss or the students think.

Coach Amanda Hennessy conducts trainings in the art of public speaking. In such situations, she recommends that you think less about yourself and focus on the valuable information that you are trying to convey to the audience. “Turn your talk into an exchange of ideas,” she suggests.

It’s important to come back at the moment, and not fantasize about the future

Think about the benefits your speech can bring to the team or clients, “what is at stake”. “It immediately gives us determination and energy, in this state we feel full of life,” Hennessey explains.

If your brain begins to draw frightening pictures of possible failure, the coach recommends an exercise that will help you feel that you are standing firmly on your feet: “Feel your feet resting on the floor, pay attention to the surroundings, carefully look at some object on the table which causes you joyful emotions. It is important to return at the present moment, and not fantasize about the future. ”

3. Do not attach much importance to details

Psychologist Sian Beilock studied in which cases we begin to “stammer” in stressful situations, and found that even very successful people can show themselves poorly by becoming a victim of “analysis paralysis” – trying to control their performance to the smallest detail.

“Often, despite excellent preparation and practice, we fail precisely because we start to pay too much attention to details. If before speaking you are mentally rehearsing the whole speech to the last word, then you can complicate your task, ”explains Baylock.

You can write positive statements on a piece of paper and carry it with you

“Golfers are often advised to think only about the next hit and nothing else. When you give a speech and try to convey your ideas to the audience, choose among them three main ones and focus on them, ”the psychologist recommends. Thus, when giving a speech, you will not analyze each spoken word, but you can concentrate on the general purpose of your speech.

Amanda Hennessy also advises practicing positive self-hypnosis: “I will succeed,” “I no longer need to prove my worth and significance,” “I am glad to be able to talk about what is important to me,” “I’m already good enough.” You can write these positive statements on a piece of paper and carry it with you to re-read immediately before the performance.

4. Be physically active

Many studies show that aerobic exercise reduces the biological stress response of the body. If your lifestyle and daily routine allow this, include physical activity in your preparation for the performance.

But do not worry that you can not adequately perform without playing sports. “If for some reason you can’t exercise before the performance, it’s not a big deal. When preparing, you should not depend on rituals, ”explains Amanda Hennessy.

Prepared by: Nikolay Protsenko
Photo Source: Getty images

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