Donna's blog on coaching, leadership, and life

Archive for February, 2016

Public Speaking—Tips for easing your anxiety

If public speaking is tough for you, thought you might appreciate reading about, revisiting, or practicing a few tips and tools that may help.

—The following was originally published in the Democrat & Chronicle, Rochester, NY, Feb 16, 2016:

When it comes to public speaking, managing anxiety is part of the package. Here are a few tips and tools that may help, whether your anxiety is minimal or significant:

– Shift your mindset from “presenting” to sharing information in service to your audience. You’re already comfortable helping others based on your experience. Focus on educating.

– In the days or weeks before your presentation, take a few minutes daily to visualize yourself calmly enjoying a stellar presentation. While you are visualizing, make an effort to relax your hands and fingers. You will be amazed at how this small action will help your entire body relax. Extend your imagination to include people approaching you afterwards to thank you for a job well done. Plan to consciously respond to anxiety during your presentation by again relaxing your hands and fingers. It will help you mentally tap into the relaxed state of mind you experienced during your visualizations.

– As you take the floor and say good morning or good afternoon, stand tall, take it slow, look around the room, and offer and enjoy a genuine connection with your audience. Projecting your energy outward to your audience will decrease the internal energy that’s contributing to your anxiety.

– If you find yourself physically anxious, take a good healthy slow breath. It can do wonders for nervous energy. If it feels like your anxiety is intensifying or getting in the way, go ahead and confidently acknowledge it. Saying something like…. “Ah, let me take a deep breath and enjoy the opportunity I have with you today” can give you a welcome chance to momentarily regroup and shed nerves. Then take the next deep breath and move on. People will relate.