June 25, 2013

Remember your successes to build speaking confidence

Here's a simple trick for mustering up some confidence before your next presentation: Recall positive memories of public speaking from your past.

This Psychology Today article refers to a study where subjects recalled positive memories of speaking in front of an audience before giving a five-minute presentation:

"Subjects either wrote out a childhood memory of successfully addressing a group or wrote about a time they'd overcome an animal or medical phobia. Then they stood behind a podium and delivered a five-minute speech, while an evaluator in the audience intermittently winced and rolled her eyes. The students who had focused on a public speaking memory gave superior public speaking performances and had lower anxiety and cortisol levels, despite the disturbing feedback."

Check out the rest of the article for a couple of helpful tips for how to make this practice work for you.

Here's a blog post I wrote about remembering your courage in previous situations in order to move forward when facing a challenge. In it, I tell my own story of a courageous moment that was a turning point in my professional career.

Do you have a memory of a successful presentation that you can draw on the next time you're nervous about speaking? Please share in the comments!

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