Public Speaking? Don’t Be So Hard on Yourself

Take a deep breath. If you’re worried about public speaking, you shouldn’t be so hard on yourself—you might be doing a better job than you think.

When it comes to public speaking, anxiety is widespread. (Did you know it’s called glossophobia?) But especially when adjusting to a new format or presenting to a crowd for the first time, take it easy on yourself. The additional layer of navigating new technology, sharing a slideshow, or presenting via video can create added stress. You may be your own worst critic.

Public Speaking Is a Common Fear

It’s understandable why you may be afraid of public speaking. You are faced with presenting yourself and a key idea to a crowd. How an audience will respond to you is unknown. Running through various situations on what could go wrong and recycling negative thoughts will only make you more nervous. It may not be easy to keep a calm head before a presentation, but it’s key. Try to focus on the positive.

If you are giving a presentation via a video conference, find comfort in your surroundings. In a real world setting, you may have looked for a friendly face in the crowd to guide you. Instead, keep your personal area clean and comfortable. Perhaps have a desk tchotchke that brings you joy nearby. Another idea is to have a friend check in over chat before you go live to give you that final (and helpful) motivational push.

Just Keep Going

Did you know that when you’re too hard on yourself it creates a cycle of negativity? Self-criticism can take a toll on our minds and our bodies. It can interrupt your productivity and halt creativity. Additionally, an unwillingness to step up because of your fear can keep you from taking on opportunities that would lead to you advancing your career and ideas.

Admittedly, it can take guts to agree to a public speaking engagement. But being willing to take on the challenge is your first step! You can’t hit the pause button now.

Consider this: Even if you made a mistake, you might have been the only one to notice. Chances are, your audience will be focusing on the valuable information you shared, not the oops you made on your slides. And keep going—the only way to get through your presentation is to get to the end.

Find Inspiration in Your Audience

Saying yes to a public speaking opportunity can feel like a huge commitment. But try to focus on the exciting aspect of the opportunity. Speaking to a crowd can be daunting—but that crowd of people means a lot of people care about you and your ideas. Find strength in those numbers. It’s exciting to know people RSVP’d to hear you share your thoughts!

Bring your energy, attention, ideas, and a positive attitude. That’s what people will remember when all is said and done.

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