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๐—›๐—ผ๐˜„ ๐˜๐—ผ ๐—ผ๐˜ƒ๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐—ฐ๐—ผ๐—บ๐—ฒ ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐—ณ๐—ฒ๐—ฎ๐—ฟ ๐—ผ๐—ณ ๐—ฝ๐˜‚๐—ฏ๐—น๐—ถ๐—ฐ ๐˜€๐—ฝ๐—ฒ๐—ฎ๐—ธ๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ด

I do a lot of public speaking these days about things like innovation, collaboration and resilience, and I really love it!

But in the past, public speaking filled me with dread. I always volunteered to do it, because I like saying yes to things (more on that later ๐Ÿ˜‰), but in the run up to the big day, I used to worry incessantlyโ€ฆsleepless nights where Iโ€™d imagine every possible disastrous scenario like forgetting all my lines or falling flat on my face on stage. Those things never happened but the fear felt very real.

So, what changed? Well, over the years Iโ€™ve learned some tricks from psychology that helped me move from the dread of public speaking to genuinely enjoying it โ€“ and I wanted to share what Iโ€™ve learned with youโ€ฆ

๐Ÿญ. ๐—˜๐—บ๐—ฏ๐—ฟ๐—ฎ๐—ฐ๐—ฒ ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐—ฎ๐—ป๐˜…๐—ถ๐—ฒ๐˜๐˜†. The fear you feel is because you want to do a good job and youโ€™re stepping outside of your comfort zone. Rather than trying to suppress your anxiety, let it guide you โ€“ what is it trying to tell you? Usually, my anxiety is there to remind me that I have lots more work to do before Iโ€™m ready to stand up and speak. My anxiety keeps me focused.

๐Ÿฎ. ๐—•๐—ฒ ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐—ฎ๐—น๐—น๐˜† ๐˜„๐—ฒ๐—น๐—น ๐—ฝ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐—ฝ๐—ฎ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐—ฑ. I used to resist rehearsing speeches because it meant confronting the big scary thing I had to do. But thereโ€™s no way around it, you have to practice, practice and practice again. The more prepared you are, the less anxious youโ€™ll feel and the better youโ€™ll be on the day

๐Ÿฏ. ๐—ฆ๐—ฒ๐—ฒ๐—ธ ๐—ณ๐—ฒ๐—ฒ๐—ฑ๐—ฏ๐—ฎ๐—ฐ๐—ธ. Getting input from someone else is always valuable. Iโ€™m very lucky to do lots of work with brilliant business psychologist James Beevers. Every hour we spend working on something together makes the output 10 times better.

๐Ÿฐ. ๐—ก๐—ฎ๐—ถ๐—น ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐—ณ๐—ถ๐—ฟ๐˜€๐˜ ๐Ÿฑ ๐—บ๐—ถ๐—ป๐˜‚๐˜๐—ฒ๐˜€ ๐—ผ๐—ณ ๐˜†๐—ผ๐˜‚๐—ฟ ๐—ฝ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐˜€๐—ฒ๐—ป๐˜๐—ฎ๐˜๐—ถ๐—ผ๐—ป. If you nail the first 5 minutes of your speech or presentation, the rest will flow naturally. For me this means learning the first part of the presentation almost verbatim, and the rest flows on from there.

๐Ÿฑ. ๐—ฅ๐—ถ๐—ด๐—ต๐˜ ๐—ฏ๐—ฒ๐—ณ๐—ผ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ ๐˜†๐—ผ๐˜‚ ๐—ฝ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐˜€๐—ฒ๐—ป๐˜, ๐˜๐—ฒ๐—น๐—น ๐˜†๐—ผ๐˜‚๐—ฟ ๐—ฏ๐—ฟ๐—ฎ๐—ถ๐—ป ๐˜๐—ผ ๐˜€๐˜„๐—ถ๐˜๐—ฐ๐—ต ๐—ณ๐—ฟ๐—ผ๐—บ ๐—ฎ๐—ป๐˜…๐—ถ๐—ฒ๐˜๐˜† ๐˜๐—ผ ๐—ฒ๐˜…๐—ฐ๐—ถ๐˜๐—ฒ๐—บ๐—ฒ๐—ป๐˜. This is my favourite trick taught to me by another psychologist, and it really works! Anxiety and excitement are both strong, closely aligned emotions. Right before you stand up to speak, say out loud (or to yourself), โ€˜Iโ€™m excitedโ€™ โ€“ this will send a signal to your brain to fire up your โ€˜goโ€™ system which is all about energy and rewards โ€“ Saying โ€˜Iโ€™m excitedโ€™ will make you feel and act like youโ€™re fired up. If instead, you try to reduce your anxiety by telling yourself to โ€˜calm downโ€™ this will send a signal to the โ€˜stopโ€™ system in your brain which will signal caution and slowness which could make it more difficult for you to engage your audience.

Good luck in your public speaking adventures!

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