So you feel nervous before speaking – Welcome to the club!

Fear, nerves and anxiety around public speaking is a very common occurrence and many people find this debilitating and they don’t undertake some of the speaking assignments that they should, as a result of this.

Well the good news is that you are not alone and everyone who speaks has some fear before, during or after they have spoken. A well known public speaking saying is to “learn how to make the butterflies fly in formation”. Notice how it is not about eliminating the butterflies, but controlling them, organizing them, making them do what you want.

Dr Susan Jeffers lists one of the 5 Truths about fear as – “Not only am I going to experience fear whenever I’m on unfamiliar territory, so is everyone else”. Dr Jeffers is indicating that everyone is going to feel fear when they stretch themselves, try something different or expand their comfort zone.

So the fear is there in all of us as we take the podium and the only difference is that some of us learn to harness the fear and the butterflies and turn the nervous energy into passion, enthusiasm and energy when we present.

The nerves are with all us, including the speakers that you admire, and it is just about learning to control the nerves, and reducing anxiety to manageable levels. Two of the best ways to do this are to do lots of practise – so speak as often as you can, and learn ways to reduce your nerves just a little – and this may be relaxation, deep breathing, visualization, whatever works for you.

So the fear is in all of us and good public speaking is about managing the fear, not eliminating it.

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