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Five inner game tips to manage fear of public speaking

The most important element that affects the way we communicate is what is going on between our ears. Whatever is going on subconsciously will affect the way we communicate. Here are a few keys to unlock your ability to manage the sick feeling you may get in the pit of your stomach when the spotlight is on you.

See it as an opportunity and not a scary test. When you are asked to present, it is because it is assumed you can add value. Don’t you love when you sit in a presentation and you learn something new, come away stimulated or feel inspired? When you are given the opportunity to share in front of a group of people, this is your chance to give. It is almost like being a hostess. If you invite people to your home, you want them to feel comfortable and you want them to enjoy themselves. As you prepare for your presentation, stop thinking about how nervous you are and think about how you can make this experience worthwhile for your audience. This mindset will shape your preparation and guide the way you share your information. It will also help you take your mind off yourself, so you focus on giving your audience something they can appreciate.

Serve your audience. Once you have prepared this valuable information, get ready to attend to your audience. I find the people who are most nervous, do the most preparation. After you have done the research and meticulously put your material together, plan to serve it. Nervous people often just want to get it over with, so they present as if they are just throwing their meal on the audience so they can get off the stage as quickly as possible. However, if your intent is to serve it, you will slow your pace so they can understand you. You will include pauses so they can digest what you have previously said. You will deliver in a way that is palatable.

Don’t fear mistakes. What we focus on expands. If you are intensely focused on not making mistakes, all your subconscious can think about is mistakes. I see it all the time. When my clients focus hard not to use verbal viruses like um and ah, it seems their tongue goes into auto pilot and the very thing they don’t want to say takes over their speech. Instead of concentrating on what you do not want, meditate on what you want. In this case, think smooth flowing speech.

Visualize. Spend time mentally walking through your presentation the way you would like it to play out. This is what athletes do. Your brain does not know the difference between real and imagined. If you create the scenario you want, your mind believes it already happened and the real situation will follow suit.

Expect success. This expectation will be created when you visualize. In many cases, people who prepare to present from a place of fear, visualize things not going the way they want. They see themselves being nervous, throat dry, stumbling over their words and their mind going blank. Maybe that is what happened to them the last time they presented, so they continue to visualize what they do not want and of course they subconsciously re-create it.

If you would like to learn to communicate in the way you want to be perceived, send an email to request a copy of my Free Guide to Develop Professional Charisma.

• Kim Welcome is the CEO of Influential Voice. A communication trainer and coach, she assists businesses and professionals to achieve their goals by helping them to develop deliberate, skillful, polished communication skills. Contact: kimwelcome@influentialvoice.com or call 242-225-9013.

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