Fear of public speaking is not reserved only for people which job is public (as is the case for actors, presenters, athletes, teachers, politicians, etc.). And people who are not public figures may have a fear of public speaking in situations when you need something to present, perform a skill in front of the audience, and express their opinions and feelings against the person who they perceive as an authority…
Fear of public speaking can begin just before the performance, or even before that (days ago) when a person starts imagining what negative could happen during the performance. This kind of fear culminates (reaches a peak) mostly at the beginning of the show and sometimes soon over (as people focus on what they do or speak), while at some others runs all the time during the appearances. This kind of problem can occur at all people but still it more frequent and more intense occurs in people who often suffer from social anxiety and excessive shyness.
Drop the requirement that you must always at all costs make a good impression and fascinate audiences – Do you really need to impress the audience even though you really and truly want that? Is that the only desirable or necessary? As long as you are convinced that you need to make a good impression, attract someone’s attention, impress someone or win someone’s admiration, you will be scared. Why? Well, because you quite realistic estimate what could happen in the case of unsuccessful for some reason. Not always, sometimes. So if on one hand you think that you need to make a good impression and be great in performance and on the other hand it is possible to fail for some reason, you are anxious, scared and you have excessive nervous. The reason for your fear lies in your absolutist claim that you need to succeed. If you do not get the applause and admiration do you think you deserve to have to despair and torment yourself? Of course not. Therefore, convert your requirements into a desire, preference; I want to make a good impression (I want to be liked, to be good, etc.) But it is not necessary (not a disaster, it is not a personal defeat). Find at least five arguments that it is not necessary (although it is desirable) to make a good impression and to appeal to the audience. Think about it and put these arguments in the paper.
Give up of perfectionism – Stop terrorizing yourself demand for perfection. Nobody’s perfect, not even you, and certainly not always. Therefore put down your criteria. Why you have to be perfect and not just a human being like all other mortals? Think about it? Give up perfectionism and convince yourself that it is quite enough to be good enough instead of perfect. Each performance is an exercise and requires a lot of repetition where the mistakes and temporary failures are inevitable. If you do not have enough experience in public performances, you will learn. Practice and learn from your mistakes rather than dishonor yourself and give up.
Assess what’s the worst that can happen to you in this situation – really, ask yourself what is the worst that can happen to you? Will chandelier fall on your head if you’re not good enough? Will it going to ruin the country? Will your audience throwing the eggs? Will the audience insult and make fun with you? Probably not. But what if you actually sound ridicule or they throw eggs? What will you do? Nothing, you will submit that. Although the chance that something happen are really small. The audience is usually not so aggressive if you have not done something really provocative or arrogant or have insulted the audience. In the worst case you can start to stutter or you don’t present it how you could. The audience may give you exposure they are not interesting. But is this a disaster? Do one or several failures end your career? Will you stay on the street because of that? Will your family suffer because of it? No. If you were not able today you will succeed next time, maybe not in front of the same but in front of another public or a person. The important thing is to practice, learn from your mistakes and learn from your experience. But in order to succeed you need to stop dreading the above failures, do not be too self-critical, be persistent; you are learning and practicing your communication and oratory skills.
There is no reason to doubt in your competence, just because of one or several failures – if you have excessive nervous during the performance that does not mean that you are incompetent in the field that you do and what you present. But no matter how much you are afraid, it is good to practice first what you will present. You can do it at home in front of the mirror, read, talk or make something out loud. You can make home a little rehearsal of your presentation. Bring a few of your friends or members of the household. Explain them that you practice for the public performance and you need the audience.
Do not invalidate yourself if you experience a failure – if you make a mistake or your performance does not reach the quality don’t immediately conclude that with you there is something wrong. These are especially exaggerated, unrealistic, illogical and very damaging statements. If you do something bad that does not mean that you are bad as a person and do not mean that it will be always like that in the future. If you are prone to criticize yourself you’ll fall into a dangerous trap that you have created. You can become depressed and you can begin to avoid any type of personal presentation and it may significantly impoverish your life. There is no reason for it. If you have failed if you are discredited, it is certainly an unpleasant experience but it does not say anything about you as a person.
Focus on what you are saying or doing and not on how you feel – if you focus during the performance on what you present your attention will be focused on activities that will bring you a double benefit. First, your performance will be successful and second will not have enough capacity to deal with fears, physical sensations and negative predictions. Working memory that we have is limited, and therefore we cannot concomitantly think about fears, about how we can make mistakes and think at the same time about the task.
During the presentation or performance think only about the next immediate step that needs to run – each next step, each next link in the chain of operations that you perform is what we need to focus in order to get control of yourself and what you’re doing. No need to think too much in advance. Be one step ahead, instead of going far into the future in your mind.
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