First step to lower your public speaking anxiety

You have been assigned the task of presenting next month. Your speech date is at least 2 weeks away, but you’re already there, sweating it. What can you do about your nerves? Will your next several days be ruined? They don’t need to be.

Don’t get me wrong – your concerns are natural. They speak to your desire to do well, to be received well and to prepare well. Many of us naturally fear coming up short. But that’s usually because we forget something in particular.

What we forget is what leads to our undoingyou have something people want.

First step in lowering your public speaking anxiety: Get acquainted with what people want from you.

You have been asked to speak for any number of reasons (to influence, to inform, to entertain, to add perspective, etc.) that all have to do with who you are. This is unique to you, and it’s what people had in mind when they asked you to speak. Sure, maybe you sent out a request for speaking opportunities but you still have something listeners want.

Maybe it’s tied to your results-oriented way of getting things done. Maybe it’s how you relate to people. Maybe it’s your ability to inspire and instill new perspective, or maybe it’s because you have information or research others need.

You have something people want.  Throughout the energy and special occasions of the next few days, reflect on what all that means in your specific case.

As you mingle with family and friends, take stock in what people say about you and how they respond to your gifting or cooking or ability to make them laugh or think or enjoy time with you. Be present to who you are and what you have to offer. This is a great time to get re-acquainted with yourself.

Maybe you are a person with a personality, information, insight, a sense of humor, compassion, or maybe even a unique way of seeing things. Remove your own self-imposed anxiety about something as isolated as a public speaking event. Instead, live life today. Show up. Get present to what is going on around you and how you are being perceived.

Done. Rest with what you have learned. That’s really going to boost your readiness to sit down and focus next month when you need to. A shot of confidence just may come from this first step, too!

Don’t be surprised that once you feel positive about the speaking engagement, a flow of ideas will come to mind. And if ideas about your presentation come to you between now and then, write them down. Stick them in a folder marked “So and so presentation”. Now you’re not only feeling open and ready, you have ideas on how to focus your talk and don’t need to worry that you’ll forget them.

Until that talk next month, lower your public speaking anxiety by getting re-acquainted with what people want from you. Then enjoy your holidays!

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