One of the next most common stress-inducing words is also an “S” word: speech.
It is often said that the audience is more scared of you than you are of them… but that is utter nonsense! I’ve lectured around the world, and never encountered a scared audience.
But do any of YOU readers feel like doing this when asked to give a speech?
I know how you feel, because I once felt that way, too. No kidding.
Let’s deal with this in small pieces – the best way to conquer stress.
If possible, visit the place at which you’ll be speaking beforehand; walk across the stage, or by the podium, and stand exactly where you’ll be giving your talk. Since familiarity reduces fear, when it’s for real, you’ll feel as if you’ve already “been there” (and done that… in a sense).
Take time to look in the direction you’ll be facing, and imagine all the people there. And stay there for a long moment, imagining that they are your minions and have to follow you.
(They actually must, since you are in control of your audience… you decide when to start, and when to finish, not they.)
So contrary to the usual customary polite sense of modesty that we are trained to follow in most cultures, it helps to develop a slight sense of (temporary) megalomania when you have to give a speech. You own your speech and your audience… so remember that!
(Come on… didn’t you ever, secretly, want to boss people around, just once? Well, this is your chance to experience that feeling!)
Even King George VI of England was severely scared of public speaking… but he managed to lead his country through World War II.
Now there was a speaker who was more scared of the audience than they were of him. And remember, he was their King!
So, as indicated in Stress – part 1 (click here), try to care a little less, and your mind will be less full of panicked thoughts. It helps… I know.
I, too, used to be scared speechless, quite literally. But I managed to get past it.
So I know that you can conquer it too, even if you don’t believe it. I believe in you.
Quod erat demonstrandum.
Prof Ling 🙂