Posted by: George E Burney | March 9, 2012

Public Speaking: Overcoming Fear and Anxiety

If you are overly concerned about the impression you’ll make on your audience, you will always be plagued by fear and anxiety. To reduce your fear, remember that public speaking is not about getting the audience to vote for you, unless you’re a politician.

How does accepting that premise help you? If you obsess over what an audience will think of you, you’ll be inclined to try to impress your audience. That would be a mistake, because it misdirects your efforts and gives you reason to be anxious.

Instead, focus on your purpose in speaking, or your objective. Is it to inform the audience? To persuade them? To get them to take action? Whatever your goal is, concentrate on that, and not on what they may think of you as a speaker.

As you prepare your presentation, look for the most effective ways to present the information, to make it as convincing as possible. Immerse yourself in your material until you become passionate about it. When you are thoroughly convinced that you have something worthwhile to share, your concern over how you will be viewed will diminish, and so will your anxiety.

To that end, consider why the information is needed by the audience, or how it will benefit them. Reflecting often on this as you prepare should move you to make your presentation as clear as possible. Your efforts along this line will cause you to shift your focus from a preoccupation with the audience’s response, to how you can best achieve your objective in giving the presentation.

The idea is to get the spotlight off you as the speaker, and put it on what you say. You might think of yourself as simply a messenger. Your role is to present the information to the best of your ability, in a way which benefits the audience.

So, focusing on your presentation and not on yourself will help you to overcome undue fear and anxiety.

Copyright © 2012 by George Burney and betterpublicspeaking


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