Ever stood in front of an audience ready to give a speech only to find your voice has cracked, your palms have become sweaty, and your legs have turned to jelly?
You’re not alone. Public speaking is one of the greatest fears people face; in fact, according to a Gallup poll, 40% of people are more scared of giving a speech than they are of dying!
As a professional, chances are at some point in your career, you’ll be asked to commit to a public speaking engagement. While the usual advice to cut through the nerves is to picture your audience naked, Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) has developed successful strategies to prevent the onset of a panic attack without having to face that uncomfortable visual image.
Why public speaking is one of our greatest fears
The feeling of nausea and anxiety as you walk to the stage with your speech in hand is known as glossophobia. It can be as a simple as a mild case of nerves, or lead to an intense panic attack as you enter the ‘fight or flight’ mode.
One of the main reasons many develop a fear of speaking in front of people is they forget it’s not about them. It’s not about what you’re wearing, how well your hair is looking or how confident you appear. It’s about the content. Your audience is coming to listen to your content, and they only want you to deliver it well to provide them with value.
Adopting NLP strategies could help you nail your speech
Neuro Linguistic Programming tactics can help you overcome your fear of speaking in front of others and captivate your audience, no matter how big or small. It can help you develop your communication skills, as well as grow your confidence and leadership traits.
Here are several tips to get you started.
Organise your ideas in advance
A well-prepared presentation is essential to overcoming your fear of public speaking. By writing out your talking points or putting together notecards or slides, you’ll be much better able to recall important parts of your speech.
Know your introduction well
Rehearsing your intro before giving your speech will help reduce your anxiety and fear. Confidently delivering your message will help captivate your audience and set the tone for the rest of your talk. Susan Cain, author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, desensitizes herself from her fear by practicing in front of small, supportive groups.
Clearly convey your messaging
If you know what you’re talking about, it should be easy to express your knowledge of your subject matter. Great communicators can get their [key] points across when delivering any speech or presentation. They use their words to convey what they want to say in a competent manner. If you find yourself stumbling, however, take a pause and deep breath so you can regain your confidence, then pick up where you left off.
Don’t let your emotions get the best of you
Unless you’ve confessed your fear in your intro, the audience will be totally unaware of the extent of your public speaking fear. They’re only sitting in anticipation of what you have to share and will have no idea your stomach is in your mouth. Therefore, breathe. Relax. And remember, even if you make a mistake, don’t let your emotions take over.
Let your personality and passion shine through
Chances are you’re speaking about a topic you know well and feel it’s important to share. By letting your passion shine through, you will be more engaging, and your audience will hopefully hang onto every word you say. Remember, being invited to speak should be reassurance enough that people are interested in your area of expertise.
Know your audience ahead of time
The mere fact you’re giving a speech in a room full of strangers can elevate your nervousness. New York Times best-selling author of 12 books, Joel Comm, finds it calming to visit with audience members before getting on stage. Getting to know your audience helps to reduce fear and intimidation when in front of an audience. That way when he’s feeling the heat, he can look towards familiar faces for some reassurance before carrying on.
Be okay with not being perfect
According to Michael Erard, author of Um, mistakes occur once every ten words on average. Whether it’s a stutter, you’ve used the wrong word or forgot the words altogether, mistakes happen. The bulk of these errors occur unnoticed, so letting them derail your speech is unjustified. The most important thing to keep in mind is that you’re human, and not perfect.
So next time you’re getting ready to go on stage, consider these Neuro Linguistic Programming strategies that are useful improving your speaking skills and navigating your fears of speaking in front of an audience. NLP reprograms people’s minds to focus on the positives and their personal strengths, rather than the negatives. Preparation is the key, giving you the confidence to deliver the information your audience wants to hear what you have to say.
Additionally, remember to go easy on yourself. By engaging in NLP training, you’ll fine tune your communication skills, build your confidence and above all, overcome your fear of speaking in front of other people.