The fear of public speaking. It’s real and it’s everywhere. But we’ve got some good news for you. You don’t actually have the fear of public speaking.
“What?! Yes I do! I get nervous and sweaty any time I’m asked to speak in front of a group.”
Here’s the thing. That’s probably true. But you don’t have the fear of public speaking. You’ve got anxiety. Fear pops up when there’s danger involved. Anxiety is when we’re pushed outside of our comfort zone. And the good thing about anxiety is that we can deal with that.
Today we’re jumping into part 2 of our three part series of strategies for overcoming public speaking “fear”. If you want to check out our last post, it dives into what you can do before your talk to make sure you’re prepped and ready to go. Confident and calm. Check that one out here.
For today’s topic, we’re going to break down our strategies for success for the scariest part, while you’re speaking. Let’s dive in.
While You’re Speaking
You’ve taken all the necessary steps to combat your anxiety beforehand, but now it’s time to step up and deliver. Here’s what you can be prepared for and how you can respond.
Navigate the adrenaline rush.
It’s perfectly normal for most individuals to experience an adrenaline rush when presenting. According to Shannon Peddicord of Healthfully, this rush is a natural response called the fight-or-flight response. It occurs due to the release of hormones from the adrenal gland, consisting of 80 percent epinephrine (adrenaline) and 20 percent norepinephrine. It’s your body’s way of coping this type of stressful situation. But now that you know it’s coming, you can be prepared.
The key point to remember is that this response is completely natural. There is nothing wrong with you if you feel adrenaline when you step up to speak. Remind yourself that it’s a natural part of the process and that it will gradually subside. As your body recognizes that you’re not in immediate danger (remember, this is anxiety, not fear!), it begins to metabolize the epinephrine and norepinephrine. The duration of this process varies from person to person and situation to situation, but you can expect it to stick around for about a minute and a half.
Move with purpose.
You’ve made it through the first 90 seconds. You’re starting to get in the flow. Your mouth is less dry and you’re speaking. Next step. Move.
To expedite the metabolization process, incorporate movement into your presentation. Studies suggests that physical activity reduces muscle tension, and you know what happens with that? Anxiety levels start to drop. The fight-or-flight response that you were dealing with at the beginning was there to prepare you to engage in movement like running away or defending yourself. By walking around the stage or using expressive gestures, you naturally release some of that pent-up energy, helping you find a sense of calm and control.
The important part here is to remember that you want to stay calm while you’re walking around your stage. You’re in control. This is your safe place. Move with purpose not with nervousness.
So there you have it – two simple tricks to make you feel more calm on stage for your next presentation. Check back in tomorrow for our final segment, what to do after your presentation.
And if you’re looking to get some one on one coaching for your next talk – we’re always here to help!