“No matter which expert you go to, the recommendation seems to be always the same practice, practice and practice,”
But how many of us actually take any notice of this, don’t we just simply brush this aside? And we say to ourselves, how can someone with that many years of experience come with such simplistic advice, and they call themselves an expert surely not!
We take comfort from in this belief and ignore one of the most pertinent techniques in public speaking, if practised well then it could have saved us from a lot of anxiety, because we would refined the flow of our speech, bring clarity to our message and the side effect of course would have been confidence.
But why bother, so when the day comes the inevitable looms, and the villain known as “anxiety” attacks and slowly takes over our body, the effects are devastation and it paralyzes us, as our perceptions begins to narrow, judgements and memory becomes impaired, the physical symptoms become visible and overwhelming.
Many of us who fear public speaking often find ourselves in this situation over and over again, so what can we do? Anxiety at a low level can be a good thing, it makes us to be on time, prioritise important things in our daily life, and gives attention to detail when required, but anything above that is a problem, high levels of anxiety can have a detrimental effect on our health and wellbeing.
We turn to remedies such as relaxation, meditation, and breathing exercises to help us reduce and bring it into a manageable level. However, sometimes when you cannot avoid a stressful situation like speaking in a public forum, remember the following simple methods that not only will help you manage your anxiety better but will interrupt the natural flow of feeling anxiousness.
- Pause and look up.
The adrenaline from fear makes you want to run, so you try and finish the job as quickly as possible without making any eye contact with the audience, but if you took a moment and briefly paused than looked up, you will find that your anxiety levels will begin to recede, as research have shown that we have more intense feelings when we are contently looking down and by simply looking up it helps to break that pattern.
- Control your breathing
When we are feeling anxious, we forget to breathe the tendency is to hold the breath or do shallow breathing, which adds to the anxiety, and again if we simply pause and try to breathe more deeply specifically from the stomach and exhale out completely, than this will create a calming effect on our bodies.
- Lower your shoulders
We have a tendency to raise our shoulders, when we are tensed, and we do this without realising, but by simply lowering them it can create an instantaneous calming effect.
These three simple techniques can be used simultaneously to take back control and lower our anxiety levels, but if you are one those people whose body temperature changes as they become more anxious and sweat begins to pour than my only advise is take a handkerchief with you and wipe it off, because you should know that this has no bearings or effect on your performance.
On a final note, most actors and performers practice for hours before they go on stage, and they can’t guarantee that they will perform perfectly and most end up making mistakes, so my question to you is that what makes you think that you can go and deliver a speech without any practice?