• Wednesday, February 21, 2024
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BusinessDay

How to overcome fear of public speaking(2)

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Last week I started sharing what I call I call the four ‘C’s of public speaking.

We talked about how self confidence can boost your speech. This week, we will move on to my next ‘C’ of public speaking.

(2)Control: Did you know that the body hormone, adrenaline which has been released into your system can be put to positive use?

When stage fright knocks on your door, instead of being nervous, you can divert that energy to exude passion, power, poise and persuasion. Take charge of the butterflies in your stomach, organise them in such a way that they can fly in formation. This helps you to adjust your speech to the expectations of your audience, they in turn, flow with you.

There are several ways by which you can calm your nerves but I always recommend Breathing relaxation exercises.

When you learn breathing techniques, it will surely reduce your nervousness.

This is how it works: Breathe deeply, from the belly. Breathe slowly, and often. The result is magical. It shows in your voice and your composure. It counteracts the feeling of terror that envelops you each time you are being introduced as the next speaker to mount the podium.

Deep breathing, from the belly engages the diaphragmatic muscles and triggers autonomic relaxation response. According to health experts, since fear is a bodily reflex that makes you inhale short, fast breath, you should make conscious effort to take in slow, deep breath.

You can also adopt a power pose, such as stretching out your arms or raising your hands with closed fists in a victory sign.

(3) Comfort: According to Jerry Seinfeld, ‘You’re never really comfortable [on stage]. Even though you may think you are… you really aren’t. But, with time and practice, you learn how to open, how to sustain, how to pace…’

Truely, good public speaking skill, requires rehearsals but an average individual would rather prefer to be left in his/her comfort zone. Yes, such people can easily converse with a few friends in the office, one on one. Watch and see how that same champ becomes cowed when faced with the task of addressing about fifteen people in that same office. What is responsible for that sudden surge of fear and anxiety?

The answer is that they focus more on their performance rather than on the message they have for their audience. Nervousness happens when you become too self-conscious and it robs you of the passion you have about your subject.

Again, you should know your audience. By so doing, you are able to tailor your message to suit them. Once you achieve that, they are comfortable. If they are comfortable of course you too will be relaxed and be in control of your speech. The moment you make them feel entertained and enriched, they will be thankful.

CHIAMAKA  BOBBY-UMEANO