How Many Years Of College To Be A Speech-Language Pathologist Top Ten Ways to Take the Fear Out of Public Speaking

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Top Ten Ways to Take the Fear Out of Public Speaking

Many college students fear public speaking more than falling into a snake pit, being attacked by an alligator or swimming with sharks. I had a frustrated student in my office one morning. She majored in engineering and had been pursuing her degree for over 6 years. He shared a story of trying to take the public speaking course several times and becoming overwhelmed by the fear of giving a speech in front of a student audience. He decided that the course I was teaching was his last chance. After having several failures, he made the decision to give up his engineering career if he did not pass my speech class. I said that success in my course was possible. I also informed you that you can not eliminate a certain anxiety that goes to give a speech. I also explained that there are many ways to manage public speaking anxiety.

There are many ways to manage the fear of presenting a speech. Here is my Top 10 list of suggestions:

1. Try the power position. Before your presentation, find a private place and stand with a powerful posture. For example, think of the pose used by Wonder Woman or Superman. Power posing researchers indicate that standing for a few minutes with a powerful posture will leave you more confident when it comes time to speak.

2. Take a few minutes to locate the room where you are speaking, check the lighting and the technology. Fear of the unknown increases anxiety. I remember attending a convention in a large hotel in Detroit. In the evening, I visited the room where I presented the next day. I also saw other presenters checking out their presentation rooms. I was more comfortable the next day because I was familiar with the environment and the technology of the room.

3. Get some exercise. Medical research demonstrates the value of daily exercise in reducing anxiety. On the day of your presentation, take a brisk walk or do some exercise to help you relax. But don’t overdo it. You don’t want to look to your audience like you just finished a marathon.

4. Avoid caffeine. Energy drinks, coffee and too much dark chocolate for some speakers will increase their anxiety. Nervous gestures, voice and problems with your schedule can be the result of too much caffeine in your diet.

5. Take a few deep breaths. Taking deep breaths will lower your pulse rate. Taking a few deep breaks before presenting will help you relax.

6. Hold your breath. Emergency specialists say that many victims of trauma stop their regular breathing habits. They often instruct the victim to focus on their breathing and return to a regular breathing pattern. If your speech is a traumatic experience for you, then it is important to think about your breathing patterns.

7. Pause for a minute. Professional speakers use this technique. It’s okay to pause for a minute or two before starting your speech. It’s a great way to get your mind focused on the speech and away from your anxious feelings.

8. Use positive affirmations. Our mind works like a stage. You cannot hold positive and negative thoughts in your mind at the same time. Negative thoughts will push the positive ones off the stage. Think positive thoughts. Imagine that your audience gives you a standing ovation at the end of your presentation.

9. See nutritious pictures. Recent research indicates that viewing caring, nurturing, positive images will increase your confidence and reduce anxiety. Find a photo of a family member or friend, or your dog or cat. Focus a couple of minutes on the image and watch your speech anxiety melt away.

10. Practice, Practice, Practice and then practice some more. Practice is the best way to manage your anxiety. Professional speakers repeat their speeches 10-12 times.

Public speaking anxiety is a way of life for many presenters. Learn to channel anxiety into energy in your presentation. The next time you feel anxious about speaking, think about the many ways you can use to manage anxiety and deliver a great speech.

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