People tend to feel anxious regarding public speaking for all kinds of reasons. As such, speech anxiety can occur because of the people in the audience, due to the speech topic, and sometimes individuals are simply nervous about speaking up. This nervousness shows up in the form of unsteady voices, shaking hands, sweaty palms, pacing, or any other such clues.
The good news is that this anxiety is mostly noticeable only to the person experiencing it, and there are some practical ways to deal with it. So, here’s outlining some of the strategies for dealing with speaking anxiety.
Becoming more of the feelings beforehand
Becoming aware of the telltale warning signs of speech anxiety beforehand helps a person intervene early to control the situation. Anxiety or nervousness is like a wave, which will become overwhelming if not addressed in time.
Everyone has distinct physical reactions and feelings when this wave starts. It can be a tightening of the chest, shaking hands, or a hollow feeling in the stomach’s pit. The point is not to think that these feelings will take care of themselves, but rather addressing these right then.
Making sure not to write out scripts to memorize
Many people resort to writing down scripts and memorizing them in order to deal with speech anxiety. But, it usually ends up doing more harm than good. They become too obsessed with the script and try to remember each word of it.
Thus, in case they forget even a few words or lines from the script on stage, their anxiety comes back even stronger than before.
Following routine exercises to keep breathing under control
Physical exercises can calm your nerves before a speech. Controlling the breathing pattern can be a huge help when dealing with speaking anxiety. However, taking one big breath before the speech is not of much help.
The good idea is to extend the exhales more than the inhales, and gradually the mind is calmed down. It is a breathing exercise that needs some practice to master, but it works for sure.
Visualizing the scenario to reduce speech anxiety
Visualizing the entire scenario in the head is something that performers and athletes do before a big event, and it works well for speakers too.
It helps if the person can visualize himself in the event, and think of himself as giving a speed successfully and confidently. It is essential to pay close attention to these feelings and hold on to them in nervousness times.
Being comfortable in the room or auditorium
Speech anxiety can also be addressed by knowing the settings well ahead of time. Even if it is a room that the speaker has been to a thousand times before, it is useful to simply go there and understand where to stand, and where the audience will sit. Knowing the space well eliminates reduces the possibility of the anxiety getting riled up.
Speaking anxiety should not become a barrier in the path of communicating one’s thoughts and ideas. Using the strategies mentioned above will help the speaker be more focused and less anxious during the speech.