The fear of public speaking is a fear that is much more common that you might think. To a certain degree we all share this fear since we all have two primal fears in common. These two interrelated fears are the fear that we won’t be enough and the fear that we won’t be loved. However simple this may sound, these fears are ‘born into us’ through the way we are raised and because we depend on other human beings for such a long period of time, these two fears are very prominent. The fascinating thing is that the fear of public speaking is directly linked to these two fears and that is why overcoming fear of public speaking can be such a big challenge.
The real fear of public speaking is mostly subconscious and deeply rooted in your need to be accepted and to feel significant. The fear that you won’t be enough (or good enough) usually sets in when you face a public speaking engagement and whether it’s in front of two or two hundred people, the need to be good enough and to be accepted and loved is built into you. No one wants to fail and look stupid. It’s against your nature because you grew up having to be accepted and do significant things to get love and attention from your parents, your friends and your family. What makes it even more challenging to overcoming fear of public speaking, is that most often you will be speaking in front of your peers. The need to gaining the acknowledgement of your peer group is even greater and will most often increase your fear of getting up in front of them and being put on the spot where all the attention will be on you and what you have to say.
A very useful way to look at fear is to consider the acronym F. E. A. R as False Evidence Appearing Real. This is not only a useful way to look at fear, but it is also a very accurate one. Fear is only imaginary and it’s almost always based on something that you imagine will still happen. We never fear things already happened. Although something hasn’t happened yet, you can still create the situation in your mind and focus on it - consequently you feel it, and experience it. Overcoming fear of public speaking starts with realizing the fact that the fear you feel is not real and that it is only a feeling – it’s only an emotion which is natural, but something that you (and only you) are in control of.
Highly successful communicators are not those without fear, but those who act despite their fear. In fact, this is a great definition of courage: it’s not the absence of fear, but the ability to act despite the fear. We only fear the things we don’t face and what we don’t face controls us. Assume the courage that you already have and just do it. The way you overcoming fear of public speaking is to speak in public – you do it despite the fear. Being a great communicator is not something that you are born with as much as it is something that you get good at through practice and by actually doing it. You don’t eliminate the fear, but you overcome it. It’s like a hurdle that you simply learn to jump over and like any good ‘hurdler’ practice makes perfect.
This can be easier said than done. When the push comes most people just fold completely. It seems like confidence is key - and the key to confidence is certainty. Having confidence in yourself and your ability to communicate clearly and effectively is critical in being able to influence the people you are talking to. Having confidence is nothing but having a sense of certainty within yourself. There are many ways to get this sense of certainty. One way is to be well prepared and to not only know your subject, but to be well prepared technically and emotionally. Eliminate as many of the uncertainties as possible – especially the part on what to say! Most of the technical aspects like microphones and presentation equipment can be dealt with quite easily.
There are also the technical aspects regarding body language, structuring your presentation, the type of language to use and the little ‘tricks’ that can greatly increase your confidence and help you overcoming fear of public speaking.
Another very effective technique that will compliment and greatly increase this sense of certainty within yourself is what is called mental rehearsal. This technique is very common amongst athletes and to a certain extent you are already using it when you feel fearful of public speaking – you are just using it in the wrong way. With mental rehearsal you build the image of yourself exactly the way you want your presentation to go. You instruct your subconscious mind by rehearsing the ideal outcome in your mind - over and over again, until you start feeling certain that you will be successful. Your subconscious mind, which controls all your subconscious behaviors, only acts on your instruction and when you instruct it with fear and everything that can possibly go wrong, then that is what it acts upon.
Mental rehearsal is one of the most effective strategies for overcoming fear of public speaking and by simply taking ten minutes before your presentation to close your eye, get quiet and see (in your mind) yourself giving an excellent presentation…see the audience hanging on to your every word and see them giving you a standing ovation at the end. Think upon and dwell upon the ideal end result and your subconscious mind will respond accordingly. Remember that you don’t get born a great communicator. You become one by doing it and making a conscious effort to get good at it. Being an effective communicator and having the ability to influence people is one of the most vital skills you will ever learn.
Article: The Self Improvement-Gym.com The world’s greatest communicators share certain common characteristics. They have a mindset and a specific way of communicating. They have certain qualities that they have learned and internalized. You too can learn these and discover the secrets of the worlds most influential communicators. Visit http://www.selfimprovement-gym.com/public_speaking.html for more information.