People say they fear public speaking more than death, although they rarely say it in public!
Fears fall into two categories. The ones you can ignore and the ones you can't. Like I have a fear of scuba diving. And you know what I intend to do about it? Never go scuba diving or give my fear of scuba diving a second thought! But I'm also afraid of not fitting in sometimes. And what do I intend to do about that? Help create a world I fit into. I'm afraid if I have a lot of money I won't know how to invest it. What do I intend to do about that? Make a lot more money and find out how I am at investing money.
And if you have a fear of public speaking and you are not a hermit, you can't ignore it. And neither can any one else. Your sweaty palms, shaking hands, and quivering voice give you away to anyone who might glance even casually your way. Not to mention about all those people who are going to be STARING AT EVERY INCH OF IMPERFECT YOU!
So, your fear shows, and you know it, so more fear because now not only will you suck but everyone will know you're a scaredy pants, which leads to more fear, more sucking and the vicious cycle that escalates into your nightmare life of homeless drug addicted despair! It doesn't have to be this way! I can help! You may never become a public speaker on the level of Martin Luther King, or even Larry King or quite frankly even Billie Jean King but you'll be able to focus, deliver and enjoy it more and suck less.
The first thing you have to do is get right with your material/text/speech/power point presentation. You may be able to do that alone, or you may need help on that part as well. Don't be afraid of asking for help! (Fear of asking for help is a fear you should definitely not ignore!) Even the pros get help. Especially the pros get help!
Then you have to believe that you can do it. And then take the 11 steps I've outlines below. They've been distilled years on stage, working with other performers and teaching countless writers, therapists, executives, teachers, lawyers and others at the Un-Cab Lab.
And if you need personal attention, call me! 323-993-3305.
1. Stop thinking about how nervous you are! Remember that almost everyone is nervous almost every time. So what?!
2. Start thinking about something specific you want to say that you really want to communicate.
3. Have a conversation with someone else. The bartender, someone in the audience, another person who's going onstage. This gets you out of your head and into your voice.
4. Do some deep breathing. This is very calming and centering. If you don't know deep breathing techniques, go to a yoga class, search it online, or watch this space for future tips.
5. If your hands are shaking and you have to hold paper onstage, hold your paper on a stiff notebook or clipboard, which will mask the shaking.
6. Steady yourself by touching yourself (not like that!). Hands in pocket, or on hips etc. This reminds you that you are still in your body - not floating outside it!
7. Look for (or imagine) the friendliest face in the crowd and direct your material to them.
8. Run through the bullet points of your material in your head, remembering that you know what you are saying.
9. Remember that the physical symptoms of excitement are exactly the same as nervousness. Nauseous, lightheaded, tight in the chest, full of adrenaline. Try to convince yourself you are excited not nervous.
10. Focus on your opening line. If you don't have a good opening line, look at your environment. Maybe you have something to say about the person who's onstage before you, the news of the day, how hot/cold/dark/light the room is. This remark will bring you and the audience together in the present moment - and that's what live performance is all about!
11. As soon as you get onstage, hold onto the microphone and/or mic stand like you mean it. It literally grounds you - and makes you feel more like a rock star.