Public Speaking Anxiety Eliminated: A Guide For The Casual Public Speaker

Five Minutes A Day To Conquer The Fear of Public Speaking
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This will help keep you from rushing your words and sounding anxious. Any person with a lot of experience as a public speaker will tell you that it always helps to be passionate about the topic on which you are speaking. Knowing your material will make all the difference. Before the big day, make sure that you have gone through your speech and edited the content several times.

Knowing that your speech is tight and error-free will help eliminate any unneeded stress. While you are reading through your speech and making revisions, try to come up with questions that the audience may ask you. Write down some notes for possible answers in the margin of your speech. This will get you thinking a little bit deeper about your subject. The more familiar you with the material, the more confident you will be while you are delivering your speech, and the more confident you are, the better speaker you will be.

Avoid becoming the next choir soprano and calm yourself down by rehearsing your speech multiple times before hand. Even if you only have a few days to prepare, carve out at least three different occasions for you to read it out loud so you can almost experience the real thing before the big day. Start with reading your speech out loud in front of a mirror. Watch your mannerisms, think about your eye contact, and be congizant of how you conduct yourself while speaking.

While you are speaking, record yourself on your phone. This will help to check your pace and your inflection throughout. How might you do that? Invite a few friends over to act like a mock audience. Run through your speech for them and get some outside feedback about your body language, eye contact, pacing, and wording. Deliver your speech and make sure that they can still hear you on the other side of the door.

Public Speaking Anxiety Tips

The jury is still out on this approach. Some have argued that while it may produce more polished speeches, it does not actually reduce anxiety. Still, the approach does seem useful for those with mild anxiety who are interested primarily in fine-tuning their speaking style. In any case, public-speaking ability and public-speaking anxiety clearly do not go hand in hand.

Some extremely CHAPTER 1 9 anxious speakers are quite excellent in everyone's opinion but their own , and speakers who approach the task so casually as to experience virtually no anxiety often do quite poorly. Most of us would like to "have our cake and eat it too" - that is, to get rid of our anxiety and be a good speaker. And that is why this book devotes a good bit of attention to improving your speeches.

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We will assume, however, that reducing the anxiety must come first. It doesn't do much good to know how to give an excellent speech if you are afraid to give one. Another popular therapy approach, called systematic desensitization, deals directly with the physical component of speech anxiety. This approach involves training in muscle relaxation techniques, coupled with visual imagery of public- speaking situations.

The target is to reach a state of physical relaxation while imagining oneself giving a speech. The assumption is that one cannot be psychologically anxious while being physically relaxed. Typically, the technique begins with the mental image of an event fairly remote from one's own speech such as imagining being in the audience for someone else's speech.

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Once relaxation is achieved with that image, the relaxation process is repeated for graduated images. The finale is staying relaxed while visualizing yourself giving a speech. Although this approach is reported to be successful with many speakers, it is not the approach we will use. That doesn't mean that we will ignore the physical component of speech anxiety.

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We will just deal with it in different ways. Another popular treatment approach, rational emotive therapy, is aimed at the mental interpretations of speech anxiety. In particular, it attempts to get the anxious speaker to realize that many of the accompanying "fears" are irrational. As a simple example, students of my public-speaking courses often report that their object of fear is the grade they are to receive on the impending speech. If this were true, then my offer to leave the room and allow the speech to remain ungraded would eliminate the anxiety.

It doesn't, of course since the fear of audience evaluation remains , and out the window goes one myth about the speaker's object of fear. More typically, speakers will articulate irrational overgeneralizations "I never speak well" or self-fulfilling prophecies "I'm going to bore them to death". Rational emotive therapy replaces such statements with more positive and reasonable ones "I can explain my point of view to friends , so I should be able to do so with this audience," or "Since this information is interesting to me, I should be able to make it interesting to others".

Rational emotive therapy is not the primary technique employed in , this book, but we will borrow some of its strategies. Throughout the book, your irrational yiews of what is likely , to happen to you during a ,speech will be replaced with more realistic and less anxiety-ridden views and knowledge. I emphasize, introduce. I'll describe what the approach tries to do, but this isn't where we're going to try to do it. By far the most successful technique I have encountered focuses on the initial component of the speech anxiety - the performance orientation. The premise is that if a performance-oriented view of public speaking is what initiates the entire cycle in the first place, then changing that view should dramatically reduce the speech anxiety.

This CHAPTER 1 11 approach operates by persuading the speaker that the goals, attitudes, and behaviors that make for effective public speaking are in fact more like those of ordinary communication encounters than of public performances. This view happens to be entirely consistent with contemporary instruction in public speaking, by the way.

Once an individual genuinely approaches a speech as a communication task rather than a performance, it becomes more closely associated with daily communication episodes than with past anxiety-ridden performance experiences. Speech anxiety almost always subsides, and the speech almost always improves. As a simple example, notice that true performances- plays, musical recitals, tap-dance routines, and so forth- usually present memorized material. When we hear a speech that sounds memorized, however, we usually don't like it. By the same token, anyone who has experienced a memory block during a performance understands one reason why true performance produces anxiety.

Thus, the reason that speakers are routinely advised not to memorize speeches is that memorization both increases anxiety and produces an artificial speaking style. Notice also that one of the goals of a "performance" is to receive from the audience a positive evaluation of one's performance skills.

When this impending evaluation becomes' a focus of attention, anxiety usually follows. An alternative is to focus instead on more practical goals and more realistic audience responses. For example, a jazz combo of which I am ' a member recently played its debut "performance. But the anxiety was almost totally and immediately eliminated by suggesting that our real goal was not to get applause, but for the audience to have fun.

A nice fringe benefit was that this not only eliminated the anxiety, but in turn improved our music, I think. And it is a safe assumption that whatever "mistakes" we made were easily ignored or forgiven by the audience as long as they were having fun with the music. The analogy for most speeches would be to recognize tha t the true goal is for the audience to understand the speaker's information and point of view.


Thus, the main thing the speaker needs to do in the speech is simply to explain the various points clearly. It helps to recognize that, unlike our school classmates who counted the number of times we said "uh" during our book reports, the typical speech audience is more interested in hearing what we have to say than in evaluating our performance skills. To put it another way, the preferred alternative to the "performance orientation" is a "communication orientation. I am reminded, for example, of a high-school valedictory address I heard a few years ago in which the speaker '.

It was truly spectacular. When afterward I. CHAPTER 1 13 By the same token, when a speaker accomplishes the goal of sharing the intended message with the audience, then the speech is successful, regardless of how unpolished the speaker might appear upon closer inspection. Polish and eloquence have their virtues, certainly, but substance and communicative clarity are much more worthy primary objectives for the speaker. They are also less anxiety arousing.

Ironically, though, discarding the performance orientation in favor of a communication orientation actually improves the speaker as a speaker. That is to say, many of the aspects of "performance" with which the anxious speaker is most concerned - gestures, vocal inflection, facial expression, and so forth - are in fact greatly improved by abandoning the performance orientation. Most notably, high- anxiety speakers, as part of their performance orientation, are almost invariably worried about their style of delivery. Notice, however, that by far the most important quality of a speaker's delivery is directness - the audience's impression that they are truly being spoken with rather than spoken at.

We have all been members of audiences in which the speaker appeared to be delivering a soliloquy in some sort of far-removed oblivion. We have also been in audiences when the speaker seemed to be truly "relating" - talking directly with us and with every other individual present. Almost always, the speaker's attitude in the former situation is one of performing, and the accompanying behaviors are unnatural, artificial, and phony.

And almost always, the attitude in the latter situation is one of genuine communication, accompanied by behaviors that are spontaneously natural and familiar. For true performances - piano recitals, public soliloquies, and so forth - one is expected to have unusual behavioral skills, and to show them off. The gestures, vocal inflections, facial expressions, and so forth preferred in speeches are basically the same as those employed in the speaker's everyday conversation, so the basic skills are already in the speaker's repertoire.

The idea that public speaking is more like conversation than like performance is sometimes difficult to accept by performance-oriented speakers, but consider this: There are only two primary differences between what you do when you engage in conversation, and what you do when you give a speech. In a speech, 1 you talk longer before your "turn" is up, and 2 you get to take more time planning, organizing, and clarifying your thoughts before you speak.

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The advance planning is the hard part; but once that is accomplished, the actual speech presentation is the easy part. There is one more difference between conversing and public speaking, of course. It is not the size of the audience that determines whether the encounter is viewed as performance or communication, however. An exercise I have used in speech-anxiety seminars demonstrates the point: As the speaker approaches the podium, the instructor temporarily dismisses the audience, but stays to initiate a "one-way conversation" with the speaker.

Basically, the speaker's instructions are to forget about giving "a speech" to an audience, and instead simply "talk" spontaneously to the instructor, using the speech-outline notes only as an organizational guide. In this one-to-one relationship the speaker will feel rather silly orating or performing, so a natural conversational directness - complete with conversational language, inflection, gestures, and so forth- quickly develops.

The speaker then is instructed to maintain the conversational style while an assistant has the audience CHAPTER 1 15 gradually return, a few at a time, so that all are present by the end of the talking. The question, of course, is at what point did the "talking" become a "speech?

If not, then the transition from "talk" to "speech" is invariably identified by the audience as the point at which naturalness and effectiveness began to decrease, and by the speaker as the point at which anxiety began to increase. Thus, it is not the size of the audience that makes a speech a performance, but rather the speaker's goals, attitudes, and behaviors. First, it makes sense that if the entire speech-anxiety cycle is set into motion by the performance orientation, then getting rid of that orientation would get rid of the anxiety. And if substituting the communication orientation improves the speech, then all the more reason to focus there.

Second, it's not just a matter oflogic or theory. I have seen hundreds of cases in which this approach has been followed by dramatically reduced anxiety and by dramatically improved speeches. Third, there is impressive scientific evidence that this approach works very effectively. For example, a study was conducted at the University of California, Davis, to compare certain leading approaches to anxiety reduction. High-speech-anxiety individuals were randomly assigned to one of four groups.

One was a control group that received no treatment until after the study was completed , and a second group read a popular book on stage fright. A third group received systematic-desensitization therapy of the sort we. The first two groups experienced no appreciable change in anxiety. The anxiety of the people in the systematic-desensitization group dropped from High to Moderately High.

But the anxiety of those who simply read this book dropped more than twice that much - from High to Moderately Low. So there are good reasons to focus our attention on replacing the performance orientation with a communication orientation. But this doesn't mean that attention to the other components of anxiety is not worthwhile. In fact, since the various parts tend to go hand in hand, it makes sense that any therapy aimed at one phase of the anxiety would do well to pay a fair amount of attention to the others.

Thus, while we will concentrate on replacing the performance orientation, we will not ignore the other components of speech anxiety- the physical arousal, and the irrational fears and interpretations. What we will end up with is a very complete treatment for speech anxiety. Sometimes the complete treatment isn't even necessary. For example, many of the people I counsel can easily replace their performance-oriented misconceptions with a new communication-oriented view, and they experience a tremendous reduction in anxiety almost immediately.

Let me relate a case in point - that of a young business man I met on a ski lift one day. After I mentioned during our initial "small talk" that I was a communication professor, he told me that he experienced "really bad stage fright" about public speaking. In the next fifteen minutes or so, I told him about the importance of approaching speeches as communication events instead of performances. There was only enough time to cover some of the general points I've made in the few preceding pages of this chapter before we exchanged business cards, hopped off the lift, and skied off in different directions.

That was the last I saw of him, but I received a most CHAPTER 1 17 satisfying note a few days later about his having successfully delivered a very important speech without appreciable anxiety. The note expressed his pleasure and surprise at having been able to conquer his almost life-long speech anxiety after such a short conversation on a ski lift, saying, "It's a miracle that just thinking about getting my points across instead of 'snowing' everybody could make such a difference.

Often it's almost that easy. The point is that while I don't usually do counseling in fifteen minutes, or on ski lifts, my approach always begins with the need to change the performance orientation. Likewise, that will be the focus of this book. Some people have an easy time accepting the orientation shift. If you are one of those, you probably feel at least a little better already, and will probably feel completely satisfied well before you finish the book. Other people are more reluctant to accept the orientation shift. In those cases, my treatment goes into certain other areas. So does the book.

IN CLASS: On the next impromptu speech assignment, see if the instructor will allow, at least for one or two students, the graduated audience exercise described in Chapter 1. The rest of the class should wait in the hall. The speaker, though at the podium, should begin the speech as a "conversation" with the instructor, and then include the classmates as they gradually filter back into the audience.

Have a class discussion on the experience from both the speaker's and audience's points of view. In what ways did the "conversation" seem or not seem like a "speech? Now play back the tape and identify all of its errors and mistakes of all kinds. Be hypercritical. Discuss or write an opinion on why these errors did not prevent this from being a good ,speech.

Hundreds of scholarly papers have been written on the subject. As is common and necessary in the social sciences, however, much of this research has had more to say about theory than about practical application. A standing joke to this effect circulated among communication instructors for a while. It featured a professor visited by a student seeking advice for extreme stage fright over a speech he had to deliver the following day. The professor dutifully consulted all of the available research literature and offered the only possible conclusion: "Well, based on the factors we know to be related to stage fright, you could change your sex, you could change your personality, you could get more experience, or you could change the size of your audience.

It happens to be true that the volumes of research on speech anxiety are generally without prescriptions for a cure. In some cases, the purpose of this discussion is to dispel certain myths about anxiety - myths that are, of themselves, anxiety-arousing. In other cases, the purpose is to understand the nature of the anxiety, so that you can realize that it is not as big an obstacle as it no doubt seems.

And in still other cases, the discussion sheds light on the reasonable targets of anxiety-reduction efforts; that is, what kind of progress you can expect to make. Speech teachers used to debate whether stage fright should even be discussed with anxious speakers. One point of view was that talking about it only makes it worse. Whether that is true depends, of course, upon what is said. The information selected for this chapter - and throughout the book- is information that I have found to be of considerable help and consolation to many anxious speakers. Sometimes this is indeed the case, but usually it is not.

A fairly reliable gauge of one's relative anxiety is provided by the questionnaire included below. You are almost bound to be curious about your anxiety level, so go ahead and take 10 minutes or so now to complete the questionnaire. XUU hll.. For each of the statements below, indicate the degree to which the statement applies to you, within the context of giving a future speech. Don't write in the blanks next to the questions. Work quickly; just record your first impression. While preparing for the speech I SAs A.

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U 3 D2 SD I would feel uncomfortably tense and nervous. I feel uncomfortably tense at the very SAs A. U 3 D2 SD I thought of giving a speech in the near future. My thoughts would become confused SAs A. SDs feel that I'd had a pleasant experience. I would get anxious when thinking SAs A. U 3 D2 SD I about the speech coming up. SDs speech. SDs before starting the speech, after starting it I would soon settle down and feel calm and comfortable. My hands would tremble when I SAs A. U 3 D2 SD I was giving the speech. SDs the speech. I would be in constant fear of SAs A. During the speech I would experience SAs A.

U3 02 SO, forgetting what I had prepared to a feeling of helplessness building say. I would get uncomfortably anxious SAs A. I would have trouble falling asleep SAs A. U 3 02 SO, if someone asked me something the night before the speech. I would not dread giving the speech. I would perspire too much just before SAs A. U 3 02 SO, To determine your anxiety score: starting the speech. I would be bothered by a very fast SAs A. NOTICE that the numbers printed anxiety at the speech site room, with the responses are not consistent for every question.

Add up the numbers you recorded for the 34 questions. The was to start. SOs Low know that I could control my feelings of tension and stress. I would breathe too fast just before starting the speech. SAs A. U3 02 SO, Mo. SOs Moderately High in the hour or so just before giving the speech. I would do poorly on the speech SAs A. U 3 02 SO, because I would be anxious. I would feel uncomfortably anxious SAs A. If I were to make a mistake while SAs A. U 3 02 SO, Association. Chances are that if you scored anywhere less than "High" on the anxiety scale, you are surprised that you didn't score higher.

Thus, you can take some comfort in knowing that your relative anxiety is not as extreme as you had thought, and in knowing that solving the problem will probably be less difficult for you than it is for many others. If you scored "High," or maybe even "Moderately High," then you may be feeling a bit exasperated or hopeless about the diagnosis. It is primarily for you that this book is written. As for whether your anxiety is so extreme that yours is a "hopeless case," rest assured that it is not.

The treatment technique upon which this book is based has worked with speakers who have scored close to on the questionnaire. And by "worked," I mean that it not only has eliminated the trauma of their anxiety, but also has significantly improved their speeches. At the end of the book, the same questionnaire is , repeated. The physical symptoms of speech anxiety vary from one person to the next. Common symptoms include increased heart rate, sweaty palms, dry mouth, a quivering voice, shaking knees, trembling hands, and queasiness or "butterflies" in the stomach.

It may be that you have felt all of these simultaneously during public speaking, but it is more likely that you experience some combination of a few symptoms. Some people report that their list of symptoms seems to vary from one speech to the next. Some people can predict not only which symptoms will occur, but also the order in which they will occur. Textbooks on public speaking used to even advise speakers to consciously anticipate and await the arrival of each symptom in sequence.

The idea was that if someone had a predictable list of, say, five symptoms, then with enough speaking experiences the list would one day be reduced to four. In effect, the speaker would realize something like this: "Symptom number four , my dry mouth, has arrived, but number five, shaky hands, isn't happening this time.

Whether it is wise to consciously anticipate symptoms is debatable. On the one hand, anticipating one' s past symptoms can operate as a self-fulfilling prophecy. That is to say, anticipating and dreading the onset ofa certain symptom may in fact promote its arrival. On the other hand, to have not the least expectation of anxiety symptoms prior to a speech is unwise as well.

The danger in this case comes from the fact that even the calmest of speakers will experience at least a few mild symptoms of anxiety. More specifically, a common situation, especially for the moderately anxious speaker, is to experience virtually no anxiety whatsoever up to the last few moments before beginning a particular speech. The problem that often occurs in this case is that the speaker incorrectly concludes, no doubt with considerable satisfaction, that the dream has come true: "I'm not feeling it yet.

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By golly, today I'm going to give my first speech with zero anxiety. The wise advice no doubt falls in the middle of these extremes. While it may be counterproductive to consciously anticipate the arrival of each symptom, it is dangerous also to not be expecting that a symptom or two will almost certainly rear its ugly head. Do realize, however, when a symptom occurs, that it is by no means a sign that the entire anxiety cycle you have experienced in the past is about to occur again. In case you are thinking that this advice is a version of saying that you will simply have to learn to live with your physical symptoms, rest assured that this is not the case.

If you are an anxious speaker now, then as a non-anxious speaker you can expect to experience far fewer, far less intense, and far less prolonged physical symptoms, as I assume you had hoped. The tiny residue of symptoms you will feel as a low-anxiety speaker are so slight and so short lived that they are easy to dismiss. Some of these insights are surprising. They offer consolation to anxious speakers, suggest reasonable targets for anxiety reduction, and even hint at ways to aid anxiety reduction.

Take the case of the typical high- or moderately-high- anxiety speaker. In the few minutes right before the speech begins, the heart rate has accele,rated to a noticeable and at least slightly uncomfortable level. Next, when the speaker gets up to face the audience and begin the speech, there is a tremendous surge of adrenaline. Heart rates can soar to extremely high and uncomfortable levels.

This phase is called the Confrontation Reaction, and if you've ever given a speech then I know you've experienced this one. It is not unusual for speakers, when confronting the audience, to reach heart rates of over beats per minute compared to normal resting heart rates in the 70s.

Some speakers exceed beats per minute, which is truly astounding when you consider it. We can view the Anticipation and Confrontation phases as the "bad news. The "good news" is that there is a third phase, called the Adaptation Reaction. Within sixty seconds or less, the heart rate begins a gradual and fairly steady decline. The rate of adaptation varies from speaker to speaker, but for most speakers it reaches a comfortable level within a couple of minutes.

The reason I call the Adaptation Reaction "good news" is that many speakers are unaware of it. The initial Confrontation Reaction is so overpowering and so traumatic that it is the only anxiety level they notice during the speech, and the only level they remember after the speech. Even though the Confrontation Reaction lasts a relatively short while, it often becomes the basis for speakers' psychological impression of the entire anxiety experience. I have heard speakers insist that their heart rate never drops below the extreme levels associated with beginning the speech, only to be shown a print out of their actual heart rate that demonstrates a dramatic heart-rate reduction over the course of the speech.

Just realizing that the physiological anxiety does subside during the speech should be a bit comforting, but there is actually something more positive that you can do with the information. Namely, you can monitor and notice the adaptation. That is to say, consciously notice the adaptation as your speech progresses. Some speakers who consciously monitor their adaptation during a speech actually accelerate their adaptation process.

The effect is a sort of "I'm better already. We have been discussing the heart-rate patterns of anxious speakers. It is worth taking a look at the patterns of low-anxiety speakers, so that you will have a realistic idea of what you should be shooting for. Low-anxiety speakers have exactly the same phases as high-anxiety speakers - Anticipation, Confrontation, and Adaptation. There are two differences: One is that the physical reactions during Anticipation and Confrontation, while higher than normal resting states, are not as high as those of anxious The other difference is that the Adaptation phase begins earlier and the adaptation is much faster.

You can get an idea of these differences from the chart on the following page. It is probably useless to hope for absolutely no physical reaction to the speech. It just doesn't happen, at least not if the speaker views the speech as important. What we should aim for is the pattern of the low-anxiety speaker.

The Confrontation Reaction occurs, to be sure, and it is naive to be surprised by it. But there is no reason for it to panic the speaker, once one realizes that it will subside. In low-anxiety speakers it subsides quickly usually within about 15 - 30 seconds , and the remainder of the speech is virtually anxiety-free. You may have noticed that the questionnaire at the beginning of this chapter contained questions not only about anxiety during the speech, but also about anxiety before the speech.

If you are an anxious speaker, you probably indicated that your anxiety is experienced days or weeks before the speech is given. And as the event gets closer, the tense moments increase. You can expect that as the ideas in this book take effect, and as your anxiety subsides, your long pre-speech agony will virtually disappear.

As you become a more relaxed speaker, you probably will still experience a few brief twinges here and there, and the symptoms will almost certainly show themselves for a few seconds at the beginning of the speech. But, of course, that's nothing compared to what you have experienced in the past as a more anxious speaker. A fascinating little experiment provides a fitting conclusion to this discussion of physical symptoms. A number of anxious speakers were randomly divided into three groups. The meter contained clearly-labeled zones for "Low," "Normal," and "High" anxiety.

Each speaker gave a prepared speech, and the heart rate was indeed measured by the researcher. What the speakers saw on the meter , however, was bogus, unbeknownst to them. One group was made to believe, via the meter, that their anxiety was unusually low, another group was made to believe that theirs was unusually high, and a third "control" group spoke with the meter turned off. On examination of the actual heart-rate records, the researchers found that the control group showed the same pattern as discussed above for anxious speakers.

But the heart rates were much higher and lower, CHAPTER 2 31 respectively, for the speakers falsely lead to believe that their anxiety was unusually high or low. The moral here is that the interpretation you give to physical symptoms at one point can influence your subsequent anxiety and subsequent symptoms. Again, you should expect some physical symptoms to occur. When they do, don't assume that they are signs of your being an unusually anxious speaker, since even the calmest of speakers usually experience physical symptoms.

And don't assume that once they start they never let up, although that may well have been your perception of what has happened in the past. Rather, realize that twinges will come and go. And don't be panicked by the anxiety surge you experience when you first begin the speech. Instead, realize that the reaction is common, even for experienced and calm speakers, and that this "Confrontation Reaction" only lasts a short while.

Notice that once you are past your introduction, and "into" the speech, the anxiety has dropped off considerably, if not disappeared altogether. To summarize, the goal of the anxious speaker should not be to eliminate physical symptoms altogether, as this is somewhat unrealistic, but rather to reduce the symptoms to a comfortable level and a relatively short duration.

As one sage has put it, "The object isn't to get rid of the butterflies, but to make them fly in formation. Some of these factors are worth reviewing briefly. Most of them turn out not to be very strongly associated with the anxiety, and that serves as good news to anxious speakers. A striking example comes from a gentleman I counseled who had read somewhere that public- speaking anxiety is associated with self-esteem. Although he was a very successful executive in a large, competitive, metropolitan area; and although he was a handsome, personable, and genuinely likable fellow; he insisted that he lacked self-esteem.

I asked a number of questions about whether he felt uncomfortable or insecure in a wide variety of situations, and he answered in every case that he did not. Why then, I asked, did he consider himself to have low self- esteem? His answer: "I have stage fright, so I must have poor self-esteem, because I read that stage fright and low self- esteem go together. Their relationship has more to do with one's self image as a speaker than with self-esteem in general.

People who are pessimistic about their ability to give a decent speech are more anxious about speeches than those who are more optimistic. That, of course, is obvious. There are lots of people with healthy general self-esteem who nevertheless experience anxiety about public speaking.

The gentleman in the last example is one of these, although he had to be shown that this was the case. Like many others, he had a positive self image about almost everything except public speaking. By the same token, there are many people with relatively low general self-esteem who have confidence - or learn to have confidence - about their public speaking, and are thus low in speech anxiety. Like many of the factors to be discussed in this section, the relationship between self- esteem and public-speaking anxiety is not absolute.

It is CHAPTER 2 33 much more realistic to think of confidence about public speaking as but one tiny component of self-esteem, and to realize that this component need not match the others. A factor that relates more directly to public-speaking anxiety is public-speaking experience.

Generally, more experienced speakers have less anxiety than. But which comes first? In workshops, Mark shares the journey of how his career led him to his current thinking. Sometimes the best way to make something universal is to make it personal. Be present. Find the things that help you get present. This might mean doing something before you even get to the venue. Recently, she was in Memphis and went to visit Graceland, which put her in a completely different frame of mind. Mark finds that a hot yoga class does the same for him, clearing out the mental fog and forcing him to be present.

Be generous. More than anything, the way to be fear-less is to be generous with what you have to give your audience. What is the gift you want to give? How can you tap into your passion for giving it to others? How generously are you able to share it? How vulnerable will you be in the process? Your ego can be your enemy. Help each other to be prepared, real, vulnerable, present, and generous. We all have something to give; speaking is an opportunity to give it.

Remember, you got this. He works with leaders and organizations to update their thinking for a digital age. She just released her debut album Fearless and is the founder of the FearlessSquad , a movement for inclusion and positivity in social media. Mark Bonchek Mandy Gonzalez. Play out the toughest scenarios in advance. Executive Summary We all want to be good public speakers.