The Ultimate Guide to Dealing with Speaking Anxiety
The Ultimate Guide to Dealing with Speaking Anxiety (Start to Finish)
I’m going to give you a step by step guide on EXACTLY what to do
…a presentation, meeting, or speech so you perform at your best without feeling anxious.
You’re going to want to save this email.
These are the same techniques I taught Muhammad to help him overcome his anxiety around speaking up in front of superiors and people of authority.
He would be terrified going into meetings but after using the techniques I showed you, he was able to go in with a completely new mindset.
Before the presentation
This is the MOST important part. Pay close attention:
1) Accept the fact that you will get nervous.
Don’t try to fight it. Don’t try to punish yourself for experiencing it.
Tell yourself, ‘‘This is normal.” - Just like it’s not possible get on a boat without it rocking back and forth, it’s not possible to do something important with no pressure.
How you PERCEIVE your feeling of ‘anxiety’ is extremely important.
If you see it as normal, you’ll just wait 60-90 seconds after you start your presentation and it will naturally die out.
If you keep panicking about why it’s happening, it will become an endless cycle and you’ll keep making yourself nervous about making yourself nervous.
Just accept that you have to feel the emotion for 60-90 seconds without any self-judgement and you’ll be fine.
Make a promise to yourself:
“I will not JUDGE myself for my ‘performance.’ The more I try to perform, the worse I will do. I’m going to feel nervous with a 100% certainty, and that’s okay.”
2) Preparation vs Practice
Putting the slides together is only 10% of the job but that’s what people spend 90% of their time on.
Once you put your slides together, go through the entire presentation over and over again and say the words OUT LOUD.
This is absolutely critical. You need to feel the words in your body, learn how to transition from point to point. The more familiar you get with the material, the less uncertainty you will feel, the less anxious you will get.
Practice at least 10 times start to finish as a rule.
Most people are either not prepared at all or TOO prepared.
That brings me to point 3:
3) Do NOT USE A SCRIPT
I know, I know. It makes you feel safe. Having everything written out. But if you are delivering a presentation about something you know (or you should know) - you don’t NEED notes to tell you what to say.
What notes do is, they make you even more nervous because now you have to memorize/read/or narrate word for word and it becomes a ‘performance.’
Then you’re worried about not forgetting the entire time.
Instead, use slides to highlight the topic you want to discuss and any crucial details and technicalities that are important to highlight. Talk around those.
It should be you looking at the slide, understanding the context, and then talking about it independently.
When you practice 10 times, I promise you, you won’t even feel you need the slides.
Most people are terrified they won’t perform and they want to feel safe having notes or a script but unfortunately this is just because they simply do not trust their own abilities or their knowledge.
You know your stuff, trust you will know it without getting interrupted by your script.
4) Calm State
It’s important to take control of your body if you’re feeling anxious.
A really powerful way to take your attention away from the anxiety is to simply shift your awareness away from your presentation, onto something you can observe.
This can be:
Your movement - walk around, stress, and feel your body loosen up
Your breathe - notice when you inhale and exhale
Your environment - say everything you see around you out loud
Your feet - walk around and feel your feet touching the ground
Your hands - feel the texture of your index finger against your thumb
Why does this work? Your mind can only focus on one thing at a time. If you give it something really specific to focus on, all other things get blurred in the background.
Imagine you’re watching a ping-pong ball bounce back and forth between players. Your eyes will be so glued following the ball that everything else in your mind will just go blank.
The idea is: If you feel a lot of anxiety prior to your presentation, get out of your head and thoughts and focus your attention on your body or something external.
This will distract you long enough till it’s your turn. You can only feel anxious if you allow the mind time and space to focus on the anxiety.
5) Breathing Exercise - A fantastic breathing exercise you can do to bring down your heart-rate before a presentation is the following:
It’s called the physiological sigh - 2 inhales, followed by one long inhale.
Take one inhale upto about 80% capacity then another short one right after,
Then do one long exhale for 5-8 seconds
Do this 3 times.
Remember: The longer your exhale, the calmer you get. This can be very helpful if you’re feeling so much anxiety that it won’t allow you to function.
During the presentation
1) Give yourself one single word to remember while you present. That word is ‘Slow.’
Slow down when you speak.
It allows you to:
-Pick your words more wisely
-Breathe to calm down your nerves
-Have more time to allow your nervous energy to flow out of your body
This is the #1 secret weapon that can fix 90% of your speaking anxiety problems if you use it.
2) Bring all your attention to your mouth. Sounds weird, I know. But bring all awareness to each and every word that comes out of your mouth. How your mouth moves, what shapes it makes, the words that come out, how it sounds.
When you do this, you’re extremely aware of yourself in the moment as you speak, and you forget to think about your anxiety.
Only do this for the first 30 seconds or so, and you’ll automatically get into flow where you’ll forget you were doing it in the first place.
Next thing you know, you’ll be half-way through your presentation without feeling any anxiety.
The hard part is done.
After the presentation
This is the easy part but a lot of people mess this up.
I remember a student of mine once delivered the best presentation of his life, but because he had set such high expectations from himself,
After the presentation,
He walked back to his seat, with his head dipped between his legs as if he had just failed.
The audience noticed and it completely killed the vibe of such an amazing presentation.
So after your presentation, hold your chin and your chest up high.
Walk back to your seat or sit back in your chair, remain calm and steady.
Don’t make any sudden movements, don’t take your coat off, don’t immediately dive into your phone.
Show that you are calm and present.
We have repeated this clients with HUNDREDS of clients and we’ve consistently seen the same results.
It just works.
Gideon described himself going from ‘as shy as a lamb’ to a ‘confident assertive lion’ within a day.
Need more help?
If you want to work with my team personally to become a confident speaker, you can apply for a free trial coaching session here.