When people are afraid of public speaking, it's typically not "speaking" that they're afraid of. As I talked about in my post "What if your worst public speaking fear comes true?" if you break out the things that you're most concerned about and address them, a lot of that fear dissipates.
In the case of one my clients, speaking is her greatest fear. She fears that she will get stuck on a word as she's trying to speak, similar to stuttering, but in her head. Her brain will shut down and she won't be able to think of the word she needs. When's the last time she experienced this problem? More than 20 years ago.
Her other fears are more realistic, including not being fully prepared, but the one that overrides all other issues, and the most irrational, is the fear of stumbling over a word.
I asked her, "When you used to have this problem, how would you handle it?" She told me that she would just think of another word in place of the one she was having trouble saying. I asked her, "Could you do that now?"
In this case, she knows the problem and she has the solution. She also feels that she talks too fast and doesn't breathe. She knows that speaking slower, listening to herself talk, and taking the time to breathe will help with her stumbling problem, should it appear.
Now the trick is remembering this when she's preparing for a presentation. One addition to her preparation is positive self-talk and affirmations: "I can always find the right word when I need it," or "My words flow smoothly when I talk."
By narrowing down this one issue, planning what to do if it happens, and using positive self-talk to reframe the way she thinks about her speech, she is already less anxious than she was before we had this conversation.
What one issue can you break down and resolve before your next presentation?
Are you an entrepreneur or professional who's looking for better results from your speaking? Are you hoping to build credibility and visibility for your business or cause? Tired of just "getting by" and ready to deliver truly engaging and powerful presentation? Click here to fill out my consultation questionnaire and we'll schedule a time to talk!