Speaking in public is a task that puts fear into most people. Sweaty palms, cottonmouth and an elevated heart rate are just a few of the symptoms of this phobia. Many people fight their fears and go on to become amazing public speakers, but for some, the anxiety is too crippling. If you side with the latter, check out these tips on how to use relaxation to combat stage anxiety.
Remember Why You are Speaking
Focus of your purpose. Why are you speaking to this audience? What information do you have that others need to hear? Whatever your answer, keep it near and dear when the nerves start to creep up. Remind yourself that the audience finds value in your expertise and experience and genuinely wants to hear what you have to say. More times than not, your audience members feel blessed just to have the chance to learn from you. There’s little need to be nervous once you view your speech as nothing more than an opportunity to share advice with a group of friends.
Do Something You Enjoy to Get Your Mind off Your Fears
On the day of your presentation, excess time can be your worst enemy. During the wait, you may be tempted to replay your future speech over and over again in your head, but you’ve already put in plenty of hours of preparation time. Instead of working yourself up by becoming hyper-focused on your speech, take the extra time to do something that you enjoy. Think of your favorite relaxing hobbies that make you forget about the outside world. Pick one to tackle and let your anxieties melt away.
Anxiety can be released through physical movement. Aerobic exercise, better known as cardio, gets the blood pumping and air flowing. This process helps burn energy. Because of this, workouts that rely on fast-paced movement are perfect for stress release. On the day of your speaking event, burn off your nervous energy by hitting the gym, going swimming or taking a jog. Afterward, you’ll see a noticeable reduction in your jitters. On the opposite end of energy burning exercises are slower-paced relaxation workouts. If you’d like to center yourself or find your inner serenity, try yoga to calm your pre-speech nerves.
Stage fright stems from imagining the worst case scenario and believing that it will inevitably happen to you. You may picture yourself stumbling over words, failing to connect with the audience or even tripping while on stage. While those are terrible possibilities, the probability of them occurring is slim. Instead of dwelling on every negative, focus your thoughts on the positive. Don’t think about the very worst thing that could happen, but the very best. “What ifs” don’t need to have disastrous endings. Instead, fill your head with best case scenarios and “what ifs” that have happy turnouts. Manifest what you’d like to happen by envisioning success in your mind.
Becoming comfortable in your role as a public speaker is a process. Some events will be harder than others and sometimes your fears will feel overwhelming. But with all things, practice makes perfect. The more you speak, the more your fears will subside. In the meantime, remember to relax and celebrate your growth.