Frozen Dope: How to overcome anxiety of public speaking

  • Friday Mar 25,2016 06:17 PM
  • By External Author
  • In Tips & Tricks


Public Speaking

You’ve heard the expression that, aside from fear of dying, people are afraid of public speaking more than anything else they can imagine.
For those who are adept at public speaking and do it as if it is just as natural as breathing, they can’t really fathom what exactly the big deal is when you talk about talking in front of others.
What that group fails to understand is that they’re good at public speaking because they’ve done it over and over again, and that practice in this case makes perfect, or at least more competent than the average person dealt the hand of speaking in front of a crowd.
So how exactly can public speaking anxiety be over come? Or is this something that you’re either good at or bad at, with little to no middle ground whatsoever?
The truth is public speaking should be something that most business professionals should at least be able to do without being not only fearful but efficient enough to more than just get by, but getting to that point means not only practice but perfecting the art form of speaking publicly beyond just doing it over and over again.
For instance, your practice shouldn’t just be trying and failing or trying and doing fine, but devising a speech and actually practicing at home in private or in front of a mirror. While this might sound mundane to some or even a little silly (as if you’re playing dress up or make believe at home), this technique is sound and effective.
In addition, when you’re putting together a speech or even volunteering to do one for the good of the company or your team, make sure it is a topic you are passionate about or at least one you know enough about that your proficiency in information can overtake and masque your inability to speak publicly all that well.
And whatever you do, don’t tell joke or let the audience know you’re nervous. It’s not only unprofessional but you aren’t Jerry Seinfeld or George Carlin, and making jokes, especially the ones that don’t land, aren’t going to help with the situation whatsoever. If anything, the bad jokes and canned humor is going to lead you to be even more nervous than you were the first time around, and thus take away from what’s left of your speech.
Speaking in front of a crowd, for some, is never going to be easy. That doesn’t mean, however, it has to be so difficult that you’re incapable of doing it, particularly if you dial it down and follow basic principles to pass the public speaking test.

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Preachiness

The Obvious?

There is a preachiness about enthusiasts for change of whatever sort. Whether technological, sociological, or pscychological. But if those who you are preaching at haven’t given you the authority to preach you are just yet another voice in the wind. To preach is to assume a dominance, a position higher up the food chain, a more advanced state of whatever sort. Doing so is deeply unattractive.

So how to bring about change?

Be different, and brave enough to be visibly so. Be consistently different through good times and bad. When invited to share how you became different do so enthusiastically but respectfully. Allow others to be different in their own way!

When accused once of being against religious evangelism, while at the same time being evangelical about my own world view, I responded by saying: “I don’t want people to think what I think. I just want them to think, and to share what they think me and with each other. Doing so may not get us where I think we are going but it will be somewhere worth getting to.”

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"Transformation"?

The Obvious?

A while back I tweeted “Do you want transformation or just tinkering”. The implied question being “Are you up for real change or do you just want to keep rearranging the deckchairs on The Titanic?”

But…

The word “transformation” is beginning to worry me. It implies a total change, a radical departure from the status quo, a discarding of how you currently do things. It also implies an idealised end state. “If we manage to get to the magical world described in this forty page document then all will be OK.” But then we never do and it rarely is. Life, and work, stays gloriously messy and imprecise despite our best efforts, or most compelling fantasies.

Real change doesn’t happen in these big bang ways. It happens one person at a time, it takes longer than you ever imagined, and it ends up looking little like what you anticipated it would.

Yet again Trojan Mice spring to mind. Little things, loosely coordinated, working together. Add to this my favourite “Keep moving, stay in touch, and head for the high ground” and you have a greater chance of bringing about the level of change that we are all beginning to realise is called for to deal with our ever increasing challenges.

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NYT > Public Speaking

Mrs. Clinton’s oratory skills have been thrust into the spotlight in recent days in a heated debate about women, sexism and public speaking.

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NYT > Public Speaking

Professor Snider was a scholar, rhetorician and evangelist who sought to heal the world through debate and in the process turned Vermont into the argumentative center of the world.

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NYT > Public Speaking

Hesitant public speakers are engaging their own private Cyranos to write toasts.

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At Odds Over a Sloppy Résumé

NYT > Public Speaking

A supervisor questions his staff’s decision to recommend hiring a job candidate who has a résumé riddled with typos.

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NYT > Public Speaking

The former star of the television show “M*A*S*H” helps teach a way to explain complicated concepts in a clearer way.

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The Introvert on the Podium

NYT > Public Speaking

With practice and an acquired trick or two, a writer learns to thrive as a public speaker.

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NYT > Public Speaking

Mayor Cory A. Booker of Newark, who is running for Senate, pledged to put forth a full accounting of his outside earnings.

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